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Sponsoring Two Refugee Families Turns Into Three

By December 2, 2021Care Ministry, News, Serve
First Lutheran’s Welcoming Refugees project began as an idea in September. Members had been haunted by national news stories of the horror playing out as Afghanistan fell to the Taliban. We pledged to help an Afghan family. A refugee planning team was formed in October and we took a leap of faith in deciding to sponsor two families, one as soon as possible and the second later. That plan would allow us learn what Lutheran Family Services (LFS) expected of us as a co-sponsors and we’d gain experience and confidence that would benefit the second family. Now, as November comes to a close, we are simultaneously supporting three families who are all close-knit members of an extended family.
Thanks to the support of our generous congregation, we have fully furnished one apartment with the household items gathered. We partnered with LFS to furnish a second apartment. Both of those families have now moved to their apartments. The third family continues in temporary housing at a local hotel, with plans to rally the First Lutheran moving crew again in early December.
We can be proud of the work we’ve come together to do. However, we know these families will need our ongoing support for successful resettlement. We feel a relief that they are now in safe housing and so do they. Still, they feel anxiety that the apartments of the other relatives are not nearby. Possessions, ideas, and methods we take for granted are so unfamiliar to them, so strange. They will continue to need our hands, our hearts, and our prayers.
In short, our plan to sponsor one Afghan family turned into two, then three – though they are really three units of one family. When First Lutheran’s refugee coordinators, Trish Flury and Bettina Roundey, first went to the hotel lobby to meet our sponsored family, two twentysomething Afghan men got off the elevator. They were confused and wondered, “Which one is “ours”?” It turns out that both were. There’s a saying, “People plan, God laughs.” God may not be laughing at the evolution of our plan – or even surprised – but we imagine his smile at our progress. We trust that he is guiding us on this journey.
Kathleen Simley

Author Kathleen Simley

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