Afghan Resettlement Ministry Delivers household items to Nine Afghan families Group thankful for the Interfaith connections that make this ministry possible

Intentional Ministries Beginning to take hold at Bear Creek

Afghan Resettlement Ministry Delivers household items to Nine Afghan families Group thankful for the Interfaith connections that make this ministry possible

 Dave, Oraib (from the MCRC), Vicki, Shelly, Debby, and Beth       

Dave, Oraib (from the MCRC), Vicki, Shelly, Debby, and Beth       

On Tuesday, a handful of Bear Creek volunteers, working closely with the Muslim Community Resource Center, helped deliver a U-Haul trailer packed with much needed household items to the Tukwila area of Seattle to help nine Afghan families. These families have recently immigrated here because the men worked as interpreters or translators for the US government, and were forced to leave the country for safety reasons. Unfortunately, resettlement aid ends after a few months, leaving many families without enough resources.  The husbands, although fluent in English, have found jobs at wages that are barely enough to support their families.   On this visit, our team met up with the families and continued to enjoy relationships that began last January.

 

One of the insights that the group is so thankful for is that this ministry can’t be done alone. This is an Interfaith Project that links our community with other communities of faith who are often leading the way in this ministry.  For instance, our Tuesday encounter couldn’t have happened without the Muslim Community Resource Center, a charitable wing of MAPS (Muslim Association of Puget Sound) that works tirelessly to reach out to these families. As Debby, one of the coordinators of this ministry, shares:  “We are so thankful for Sr. Nickhath, the Director, and Oraib Khalifeh, who manages the resource center. Oraib has been a blessing to us. She put out the word to the Muslim community who have responded generously in meeting needs of the families we are working with. She has met Shelly, Vicki, Dave, Beth and I numerous times at the warehouse to help receive, tag and locate needed items.  As we loaded up the UHAUL yesterday, she said to me, ‘I have been to many interfaith gatherings where there is dialogue after dialogue, but this is real interfaith at work in the world.’  She mentioned she is so very appreciative we could work together to help the families from Afghanistan who have now become our friends.”

 

The ESL class taught by our group earlier this year is still a vital part of this ministry but has progressed to include new resources. For many of the women, coming to the class was their first experience with English, and it helped them gain confidence. Almost all the women have now gone on to become enrolled in community ESL programs this fall and feel very proud.

 

As we continue to be in relationship with these families, we are committed to serve as mentors and offer support, mostly to young mothers, who greet us with kisses and open arms.  Many of the women are isolated at home with babies and young children during the day. We are looking towards starting a life-skills and conversation group, where the women can discuss topics like early childhood learning, practice speaking English, and learn other practical skills such as how to ride the bus.

 

Anyone interested in helping in this area of ministry can email Debby at heimfeld1@icloud.com or contact Daniel Walsh, Congregational Assistant at support@bcumc.org.  We are always looking for ways we can involve more folks in this ministry as it continues.

Tim Schaaf