A friend of our ministry had her first experience welcoming a refugee family at the airport. It’s cool to feel her excitement! Another #NearFrontiersTREK. Read on!
“Yesterday I had one of the most meaningful and moving evenings ever. Some friends and I are part of a “Welcome Team” at our church that has begun to welcome people who have lost everything and are coming to LA to start their lives over. “Our” first family arrived last night. They are Kurdish refugees from northern Syria. We had to wait about three hours after the plane landed as they went through customs. Some of our group members had made a sign with their names on it in English and Arabic. When the family came up the ramp from the customs area, bewildered and exhausted, they saw the sign. They were confused and stunned. We had brought some flowers for the mom and little toiletry bags for all of them, and gifts for the kids (five of them, ages 15 to 5).
“It was incredible. They were so thankful to be greeted warmly. Some in our group speak Arabic, and the mother kept telling them, “I was so afraid, I was so afraid of what we would find when the plane landed.”
“They do not have an easy life ahead of them. They are receiving limited assistance from a non-profit organization for 90 days. They will receive government assistance for a limited time as well. Our goal is to help them attain independence as quickly as possible – help them find jobs, enroll their kids in school, figure out public transportation, get library cards, things like that. We also hope to become friends by sharing meals, going to parks together, and exploring their new home in Los Angeles with them.
“It is so hard to describe the beautiful connections and the hope that were created right there in the airport. I cannot imagine the losses they have experienced, nor the overwhelming task of starting over in a completely foreign country. They were in a refugee camp for three years, I think, as they went through the screening process to enter the US. One of the teen boys had shaved a star into his hair — for the USA, like the American flag, he explained.
“I understand that not all of my friends think that the US should welcome refugees. I also understand that there are many Americans who need help too. But I am so grateful that I got to be part of such a profound act of love and grace. Tweet This We got to live out the words on the Statue of Liberty, and it was amazing.
There may be organizations in your area who assist with refugee resettlement. Check out: www.WorldRelief.org, www.rescue.org, www.usccb.org,