By Sue Smith, WES’s Refugee Resettlement Team Coordinator
Imagine leaving your close-knit family and all your friends and striking out with your dependent spouse, three young children, and a few hundred dollars for a new country you know only from movies and military service members. This is the story of the Afghan family WES is sponsoring. Technically, they are not refugees and never lived in a camp. Their story is not one of victimization, but of personal courage to triumph over ignorance and hatred. This man chose to ally himself with the US, dismissing bigotry against the infidels, and instead embracing a belief that all humans are basically the same. His is also a story of faith – faith in himself that he could make this audacious plan work, faith that their journey would bring them freedom, faith that their children would be safer, and faith that in the US they would all have a fair chance to thrive.
For three weeks since their arrival, WES Refugee Resettlement team members have stepped up, proving that faith was not in vain. The weekend before their arrival, at least 20 people pooled their resources, trucks, labor, furniture and accessories to fully furnish an apartment provided by Lutheran Social Services. When they entered the US on July 12th, they were surprised and grateful for a full pantry, a hot meal, and fresh beds. In the weeks following, they have gradually learned of the community of people wishing them well, providing rides, assisting with forms, accompanying them through the bureaucratic process of securing legal status and benefits, and generally becoming oriented to life here. So far they have been introduced to 11 WES members, and will continue to meet others to help with upcoming challenges. These include learning English for the mom and boys, finding employment for the dad, expanding their clothing options, managing their finances, grocery shopping and generally getting around town. Although they have been introduced to the bus system, they don’t consider it a viable option for a family of five, and what they really need is a donated car. Finding and keeping a job and attending English classes will be quite a struggle without one. Anyone with a vehicle to offer for a tax deduction, or who can volunteer during the day time, or who just wants to help with some of the above challenges, can contact Sue Smith firstname.lastname@example.org. Your participation supports a faith in human worth and this family’s American dream.