AFGHAN REFUGEE WELCOME MINISTRY
Dear Friends at National,
The NPC Serve Council has an amazing story to share with you about something God has been doing in our midst! Our congregation's ongoing sense of call to refugees has led us to an Afghan refugee family who will inspire you and win your hearts.
Since welcoming the Zeidos, a Kurdish-Syrian family to the US five years ago, and since the dramatic exodus of refugees from Afghanistan after its fall to the Taliban in August 2021, many NPC members have asked how we could be directly involved in supporting another family. But we knew that would require some very big things: 1. ample funding, 2. a committed lead volunteer ready to be the "team captain," 3. the right family, and 4. a new Serve Director to ensure adequate staff support for the project. A tall order.
Let's start with that last item--a new Serve Director, Jonathan Edwards, began February 1! He is a gem with deep faith, a heart for service, and experience in empowering people to build transformed, independent lives. He is coming at just the right time to support Team NPC in welcoming an Afghan family. Jonathan is an answer to prayer!
Then let's go to the funding. In God's amazing providence, a family in the church has made a very special gift intended to cover the costs of welcoming an Afghan family. Your generosity and involvement will still be needed, but this gift is an answer to prayer!
Could there be someone to take the lead? Mere hours before Christmas Eve, NPC member Linda Shannon Miller reached out on behalf of an Afghan family in need. After the evacuation of Afghanistan in August and the tragic bombing at Kabul airport, many injured evacuees were brought to Walter Reed for treatment. Linda, whose husband is a doctor there, volunteers at the hospital and met one little boy and his family who will be a perfect fit for our congregation. The Serve Council welcomes Linda as our team captain, and stands behind her and this project. Another answer to prayer! (We will also have the assistance of Mary Leggit, Volunteer Chair at Walter Reed.)
This brings me to the best part--the family! (We shouldn’t share their names on the internet at this point.) It starts with a sad story: the family was at the Kabul airport trying to get out of the country on August 13, 2021. Their relatively modern ways, including educating their daughters at a private school where the girls were learning English, meant they would not fare well in a Taliban regime. At the airport, a suicide bomber killed almost 200 people and injured many more. One of the children seriously injured was the 9 year old son. He was evacuated by Medevac with his mother, 2 sisters (ages 17 and 12) and little brother, age 3. Their father, a skilled mechanic by trade, and one brother (age 13) did not make it out and are in hiding in Afghanistan.
“B” spent several months recovering at Walter Reed while the family lived on base. “B” went from a hospital bed, to a wheelchair, to walking. He will need some additional orthopedic surgery and plastic surgery, but he has recovered beautifully. After being discharged from Walter Reed before Christmas, the family has been living at one of the US government short-term safe havens. Tomorrow (!) they will also be "discharged" to very temporary housing, then an apartment, which we will find and furnish in Montgomery County MD--hoping to find something safe, relatively affordable, and accessible to public transportation in a place where we are familiar with the resources available. Enrolling the kids in school is next.
Once they are settled, the dad and brother still in Afghanistan will move up the list for family reunification, but realistically, it could be a year before they get here. So NPC will be privileged to help this mom and kids in the meantime as they learn English, find work, assimilate into American culture, and move toward an independent life. The chance to partner with this family is an answer to prayer!
FYI, the family is fully vaccinated, and their native language is Dari, an Afghan dialect of Farsi. The kids are ahead of mom in learning English, but she is eager to get there. As with the Zeido family, they are Muslim. At a recent meal with the family, when we thanked God for our meal and for bringing us together, and when I shared that we are people who do what we do because we love Jesus, everyone was completely relaxed and comfortable--I'm sure more comfortable than many of my Bethesda neighbors might be! You will love these warm, delightful new friends.
Church World Service (CWS) is the official sponsoring organization. Locally, CWS works with Solutions in Hometown Connections (SHC), run by fellow Presbyterian Merritt Groeschel, with whom we already have an excellent working relationship and a direct line of communication. This partnership is an answer to prayer!
Only God could have put all this together!! It has been an intense time behind the scenes because the situation of Afghan evacuees is unique, and things are moving fast.
Now it's time to mobilize a new NPC team with love and prayer, to provide support over the next 12 months until the family becomes independent.
Here’s the list that we also printed at the top of the letter. There are very specific, manageable things you can do, such as:
- tutoring, and more.
Please click the button below to fill out a simple form and indicate how you might be able to help. Are you an answer to our prayers for this family in need?
Pastor Donna Marsh
National Presbyterian Church