Greetings from the Refugee Resettlement team!
Our team, with the full support of the Council, has been working hard and successfully to get our transitional home prepared for our refugee family. The response from the worshipping communities is remarkable! We are greatly encouraged by the compassion and generosity of the Harderwyk community. Many in our community have been watching the international refugee crisis unfold on the news for years and have remarked how right it is for us to finally be responding in a tangible way. We thank God for giving us the opportunity to serve.
Early Sunday morning we received an email from Bethany Christian Services. They have an urgent need for an Afghan refugee family arriving this Thursday December 10. The family is coming from Peshawar Pakistan, where they fled when they left Afghanistan. The family is comprised of three adults and two children: two parents (33), two boys (6 and 9), and the father's sister (23). The father is university educated and lists his occupation as an "owner and bee-farmer" while both women list their occupations as tailors. The father and oldest son speak some English. Bethany needs a three bedroom home, ready for the family which is exactly what we have available. For more information about refugees from Afghanistan, please view the following documents:
We are aware that after the attack on Paris and again the attack in California there is a heightened sense of fear around welcoming Muslim refugees into our communities. Our Bethany representative has told us that about half of churches which were previously open to accepting Muslim families are now refusing to welcome them. As you prayerfully consider welcoming this young family we ask you to remember that they will be resettled in Michigan, maybe even in Holland with another church, whether we embrace them or not.
There will be an information meeting on Wednesday (Dec. 16th) after the community night dinner with Deb Hoekwater from Bethany Christian Services. She will share about Bethany’s Resettlement program, answer questions, and discuss resettlement ministry opportunities.
As leaders of the Resettlement Team (John Burden, Jill Burden, and Jill Perkins) we stand firm in our conviction that God has called us to welcome the stranger, to cast out fear, and to consider the needs of others above our own. We reflect upon the parable of the Good Samaritan as we ask ourselves how we will respond to this young family's great need. Our desire is to show mercy as Jesus asks of us.
If you desire to assist the Resettlement Team in this project, please feel free to contact then for further information.
In His Grace,
Rev. John BurdenJill BurdenJill PerkinsRev. Darwin Glassford