As soon as this community learned about what was happening in Afghanistan this summer, you started responding. We sent out a call to prayer and asked you to reach out to Congress to ask them to protect vulnerable Afghans. You came with your questions, your compassion, and your hearts ready to respond. The journey is only beginning for Afghan families who are transitioning to new homes and have a long road of settling and healing ahead. Here are some ways you’ve shown up this year. Know that we will continue to highlight community responses and ways you can get involved in 2022!
Raising Funds for World Relief
Our founding partner World Relief was one of the early agencies receiving refugees from Afghanistan. Typically, they have advance notice when a family is resettling, but in August they had only a couple of hours notice. They were in real need of volunteers, furniture donations, and financial support to be able to welcome and resettle families who were fleeing. You raised over $5,000 to support World Relief and make a difference in the lives of refugee families.
Giving a Tangible Sign of Welcome
One of our community members, Leea from Kentucky, was eager to see how she could support newly arriving refugees when she learned Afghans were coming to a military base two hours from her home.
She reached out to get involved. One question she asked was if there were items she could bring to donate. That’s when she learned that the families there are struggling to access nearby hot water to be able to make tea in their homes. The families prefer to eat at home, rather than in the base’s dining hall, but the hot water cools off by the time they return home, and it isn’t hot enough to make tea.
She shared with our private Facebook community an Amazon wishlist to purchase thermoses and hot water kettles for the newcomers. In less than 24 hours, over 120 thermoses and kettles were purchased!
Leea said, “People from more than 15 states have demonstrated an overwhelming outpouring of love for our new neighbors and concern for their situation. My mind cannot even comprehend this. This truly is a group of women of welcome. I am truly speechless at the generosity and love that has been demonstrated. I cannot thank YOU enough. Wow, wow, wow. The Lord is good. He is faithful.”
Along with her team, Leea was able to deliver nearly 500 thermoses and tea kettles! Many of those donations came directly from this Women of Welcome community. Thank you!
Welcoming Evacuees to the U.S.
Sara always felt a heart tug toward the most vulnerable, whoever they might be. When the first wave of refugees began arriving on U.S. military bases after their evacuation from Afghanistan, local agencies were trying to pull together resources quickly and relied on volunteer programs to welcome new arrivals. Sara was invited to participate, and she spent three weeks on the Air Force base in San Angelo, Texas. Read more of Sara’s experience welcoming immigrants and how others in her community have reacted to her sharing.
You Found Creative Ways to Respond to Needs in Your Communities
- A member of our community is hosting an awareness session on trauma healing and refugees in January. Others have attended these events so they can better serve their new neighbors.
- Those in our group serving new Afghan arrivals are connecting through the private Facebook group with others in the cities where the refugees they know are being resettled so they can connect with Christ-like welcome when they arrive in their new homes.
- One of our Women of Welcome works in Greece teaching art and working with the refugee community there, with students currently from Afghanistan or Iran. She shared the Instagram of the teenage girls in her class with other women in the community to connect them with encouraging followers who can ask about their art and culture.
A woman in our group shared that she wanted to do more to help Afghan refugees in her area but was diagnosed with heart disease and needed surgery. “The only thing I have been able to do is teach an English class one morning a week. In God’s providence, a student teacher was also available to help me. It was such a joy to be back in the classroom after a break for covid. I had to miss the last class this fall because of my surgery. In the mail today, I received a beautiful card with get well notes from my fellow teachers and my students. Seeing get well wishes in different languages brought tears to my eyes.”
These are just some of the ways you have showed up for your neighbors. We have been overwhelmed by the loving response to the needs arriving at your doors. Thank you for reminding us over and over again why we do what we do, ladies. And remember, the call to welcome is a marathon. We can’t wait to see how God continues to work in and through this community in the coming year!