Working with Refugees

General Christian Theology
Bootstrap
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Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:59 am
Affiliation: Kingdom Christian

Re: Refugees

Postby Bootstrap » Sat Jan 28, 2017 10:36 am

Are people interested in this thread? I'm not sure whether to continue posting our experiences here or not.
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Is it biblical? Is it Christlike? Is it loving? Is it true? How can I find out?

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mike
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Affiliation: Conservative Menno

Re: Refugees

Postby mike » Sat Jan 28, 2017 1:07 pm

I'm interested. I'm glad things like this are happening, and I would enjoy the opportunity to help with such a project locally.
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Remember the prisoners, as though you were in prison with them, and the mistreated, as though you yourselves were suffering bodily. -Heb. 13:3

Bootstrap
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Affiliation: Kingdom Christian

Re: Refugees

Postby Bootstrap » Mon Jan 30, 2017 6:22 am

Let me copy this here from another thread:

Bootstrap wrote:On January 20th, Donald Trump takes over the White House. On January 19th, two Syrian refugee families arrive in Durham, North Carolina. Together with World Relief Durham, a team from our church is preparing their apartments, providing them with furniture and stocking their refrigerator with the kind of food they know well. When they arrive, we will meet them at the airport, drive them to their new home, and provide with a warm meal. After that, we have committed ourselves to walking with them through their first six months in their new country. We hope this will continue long after that.

While we do this, other teams moving furniture into and out of the White House and making sure their refrigerators are well stocked, making plans to meet people at airports, drive them where they need to be, and provide them with meals. Other groups are preparing for Trump’s inauguration – either to support it or to protest. I’m sure it will be quite a spectacle. I will not be there.

As Christians, we are foreign aliens in this country, citizens of another Kingdom, like the Syrian families we will soon meet. And this country looks more foreign to me right now than any other time I remember. That’s probably a good thing. I’m very interested in politics, and prone to useless arguments. The best political statement I can make is to show Christ’s love by welcoming the stranger.
Last edited by Bootstrap on Mon Jan 30, 2017 6:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Is it biblical? Is it Christlike? Is it loving? Is it true? How can I find out?

Bootstrap
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Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:59 am
Affiliation: Kingdom Christian

Re: Refugees

Postby Bootstrap » Mon Jan 30, 2017 6:32 am

Martin wrote:Speaking of refugees, are there any organizations assisting Syrian immigrants in Southern PA (Franklin Co.) or Maryland? I would like to assist them here in the US if it is possible.


World Relief's headquarters are in Baltimore:

https://www.worldrelief.org/connect/

They have local chapters in Anne Arundel and Baltimore. They would also know about other places. I see some other places on the Internet (e.g. http://www.refugeesinpa.org/) that may be relevant, but I have no direct experience with them.
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Is it biblical? Is it Christlike? Is it loving? Is it true? How can I find out?

Bootstrap
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Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:59 am
Affiliation: Kingdom Christian

Re: Refugees

Postby Bootstrap » Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:09 am

The two families have settled in. They are very eager to learn English and work, their children start school today.

With English, they are not quite starting from scratch, but pretty close. They can count to 10 and manage simple greetings well. One of the wives understands simple English fairly well, nobody else does yet, so helping them with English is a priority. We bought them two simple Android cell phones on the Tracfone plan so they can use Google Translate and we can communicate with them via text and email - that really helps us know when we can visit. Google Translate works offline if you download the data, so it does not cost them minutes. We also bought them picture dictionaries (https://www.amazon.com/Oxford-Picture-Dictionary-English-Arabic-Arabic-speaking/dp/0194740102).

We are negotiating cultural norms - men need to avoid offering to shake women's hands, we need to leave our shoes outside the house, etc. Both families are Muslim, and the women are covering. Their two middle-school daughters cover, and we're a little concerned about them starting school today, we simply don't have a good read on the attitudes they will face there.

We're also doing a lot of thinking and praying about how to relate to them as friends, rather than benefactors. We set up their apartments and stocked them with food and cell phones - we don't want them to think of us as "providers", we want them to think of us as friends. They have case workers who have experience with job placement and the legal side of things, and their case workers also encourage us not to keep giving them things every week. So when they asked about hangers, we told them where the Dollar General store is. We did an initial shopping trip with them to Krogers - they get gift cards to the closest grocery store from the government program.

They have been in this country since January 20th, and things are settling down quickly. They have met other Arabic-speaking refugees and are making connections rapidly. We are seeing them every day or two at this point. Yesterday we had a meeting with the 20! people who signed up to help, most haven't been able to spend time with them, and we may simply have too big a group of volunteers for two families. We had been hoping to spawn another team for a newly arriving family. We may spawn volunteer teams to help other families already here who don't have this kind of help.
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Is it biblical? Is it Christlike? Is it loving? Is it true? How can I find out?

Bootstrap
Posts: 2224
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:59 am
Affiliation: Kingdom Christian

Re: Refugees

Postby Bootstrap » Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:19 am

Interesting church service yesterday, incidentally.

We don't talk politics in our church services, that's a strong line. But during the prayer and sharing time, someone started by sharing that no matter where you stand on the executive order, there are refugees whose lives are disrupted and families that are divided and people detained at airports, and we should pray for them. That led to four other people sharing about our families and asking for wisdom and protection from hatred, praying for our leaders, and asking that God show us our way as Christians in all of this. No political positions were taken during the service. No names of politicians were mentioned.

Yesterday evening, we had a meeting for everyone involved with these families, and we started off with a time of prayer and scripture. I'll try to get a copy of the list of scriptures we used.
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Is it biblical? Is it Christlike? Is it loving? Is it true? How can I find out?

Szdfan
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2016 11:34 am
Affiliation: MCUSA

Re: Refugees

Postby Szdfan » Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:32 pm

Boot,

I've been thinking a lot about your church's work in the midst of the EO and what's been going. Blessings to you and your congregation.

-- J
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appleman2006
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Affiliation: Midwest Mennonite

Re: Refugees

Postby appleman2006 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 5:40 pm

Boot I too am enjoying reading your experiences. I marvel how they almost exactly mirror what our congregation went through a year ago with our two families. Right down to the fact that only one of the ladies spoke any English at all. Communicating by phone was the way we started out as well. We encouraged our four adults to attend English school full time for the first half year and that really helped. The children picked up the language very quickly through regular school. The children soon all learned to love school very much and were very well accepted by their peers and teachers.
One of our families was very deeply Muslim while the other was more nominal. Ironically it was the more religious family that has been attending church on a more regular basis. The other Sunday my wife saw one of the eight or nine year old girls walking around hand in hand after church with one of the girls from one of our local families.
It is very evident that friendships have formed which I expect will be long lasting. A number of weeks before Christmas one of the local Imams from the local mosque actually attended our Sunday morning service. He participated in our Sunday School discussion and we gave him a chance to introduce himself prior to our worship service. He simply stated that he had heard so much good about us that he had to come and see it for himself. I believe he stated that it was the first Christian worship service he had ever witnessed.

I have every confidence that you will have an interesting year. Blessings to you and if I can ever help from our experience, let me know.
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Bootstrap
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Affiliation: Kingdom Christian

Re: Refugees

Postby Bootstrap » Tue Jan 31, 2017 6:06 pm

Any advice for us? We're very much rookies at this. Feel free to post your experiences - past or present - here in this thread.

And I would LOVE to hear from anyone else working with refugees.
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Is it biblical? Is it Christlike? Is it loving? Is it true? How can I find out?

temporal1
Posts: 1498
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2016 12:09 pm
Affiliation: less than the least

Re: Refugees

Postby temporal1 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 6:47 pm

Bootstrap wrote:Any advice for us? We're very much rookies at this. Feel free to post your experiences - past or present - here in this thread.

And I would LOVE to hear from anyone else working with refugees.
rookies? :?
PCUSA Disaster Assistance
https://pda.pcusa.org/page/refugee/
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formerly Temporal1

“The past is never dead. It's not even past.”
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