Doing Life with Refugees

A Life Group involved in Global Outreach

Half of our Life Group has global experience and they were super excited about an opportunity to settle an incoming refugee family. The rest of our group had no global experience and were a little nervous, but just as excited.  We entered into this as a team. We only had a few days notice, but everyone jumped in where they could. We learned that it really takes a community! It’s also nice that we all don’t have to do everything.

The first step was setting up the family’s apartment.  There was a lot that needed cleaning and our team cleaned, cleaned and cleaned. The amazing Refugee Resettlement Ministry supplied all the needed furniture and apartment needs. It was a team effort and went much quicker than expected with all the help that arrived. It was rewarding to know that everything was in place and clean for the family’s arrival.  It’s super fun that they are settled in a community here in Mesa.

Next, we met the family at the airport. This was the first of our many language gaps! They were told to wait at the gate for us and of course we couldn’t get to the gate. Eventually a flight attendant helped us and we were united with the family. There were lots of smiles, greetings, posters, and laughter. We brought a friend from Iraq,  who has been here for 2 years, previously a refugee herself. She helped with translation and assured the family that we were good people and here to help them settle into their new lives here in America.

This is that experience from one of our Life Group members, Jeannie, “Upon arrival at the airport to meet the family and before their plane had landed I asked our friend who was a refugee from Iraq, “When you were on the plane awaiting your landing on American soil, were you scared, nervous or excited?” She said, with a huge smile on her face, “You have to understand, I had waited over 2 years for this and I was EXCITED!” I was curious as my heart and mind were racing trying to put myself in their shoes, leaving the only home and culture they knew and completely starting over new in a place they knew nothing about. We waited anxiously for them to arrive, with our “Welcome to America” sign and smiles on our faces. There was a slight mix-up once they exited the plane at the airport, but after some help from the airline staff they came out from the gates and we greeted them. The family was smiling and the kids lit up! We introduced ourselves and chatted for a bit (with the help of Shayma translating), then left the airport and headed to welcome them into their new home. They were so overwhelming friendly, humble, grateful, joyous and loving. I immediately fell in love with them all and every time we meet with them, they greet us, embrace us and we play charades and use Google translate to communicate like we are family. As much as I think they think we have done so much for them, they have forever impacted and changed my life for the better. I am excited as I look to the future, as we grow closer in our friendship with this family.”

They were so overwhelming friendly, humble, grateful, joyous and loving. I immediately fell in love with them all and every time we meet with them, they greet us and embrace us.  We play charades and use Google translate to communicate like we are family. They think we have done so much for them, however, they have forever impacted and changed my life for the better. I am excited as I look to the future, as we grow closer in our friendship with this family.

Another Life Group member, Tom, wanted to share this, “I’m so proud to play a small part in Central Christian’s Global Outreach Program. I have been blessed as our Central Life Group has played a role in helping our refugee family get settled into their new home right here is Mesa, AZ.” This member helped with the apartment set up and has taken the family to medical appointments downtown.

The refugee family fled Syria after their home was bombed and they couldn’t stay. There are five members of the family, two parents and three amazing boys. They spent two years in Jordan and then arrived to America. I can’t even imagine what they are feeling and what they have been through. We visit them and they accept us and show us more love and appreciation than you can imagine.

We have a lot to learn about each other and the language gap is huge, but we have found ways to communicate with smiles, help, service, and love that transcends the language barrier. We are starting English lessons and everyone in our group is privileged to be on this journey with this sweet family. We can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for us.

Our Muslim friends in the community are helping too, with dinners, trips to the mosque and bikes.  As a community we keep stepping up where ever we can. We are humbled to be in this process and to be a part of their journey. We can’t wait to see how much we grow because “there is more to life than me” and this family reminds us that every time we are with them.

Doing Life with Refugees

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