Messiah News

16 gallons of oil and many lives touched: Volunteers work to settle Afghan refugees

by Janet Borst

Last Thursday evening, one of our intrepid volunteers braved the aisles of WinCo food to purchase the staples needed for 32 incoming Afghan refugees. That included 16 gallons of cooking oil, 80 pounds of flour, 48 large cans of tomatoes and so much more that it filled 3 shopping carts. To say she may have bitten off more than she bargained for is an understatement. But God always has a plan and God often uses the most unlikely people to complete it.

As she was checking out, word spread that something odd was going on at register 8. Questions were asked, answers given and suddenly out of nowhere, but God's plan, people offered help. Strangers were amazed and offer to help bag. An employee in the service center volunteered to watch over full carts. A woman and an employee going off shift offered to help bring the food to the car.

Our volunteer drove to church where she was met by two others who helped unload the car and bring it to a storage place at Messiah. Laughing, they estimated that at least 800 pounds of food had been lifted at least 7 times – from shelf to cart, cart to conveyor belt, belt to bag, bag to shopping cart, cart to car, car to Messiah's carts, then to the storage. All this was accomplished in 4 hours.

You may remember that earlier I wrote that God often uses unlikely people. Yes, I was referring to the folks who offered help at WinCo. But I don't want to forget the woman who shopped. She would not self-identify as a Christian or as a member of any religious group so some might think an unlikely person to aid God's plan. But from a group of 5 Messiah members who wanted to explore the idea of helping LIRS and the Afghan refugees, all those people have been touched by Christ.

And so have we. Our volunteer group now numbers over 21 folks who have given over 70 hours of time in just 2 weeks. We are gearing up to aid the transition of 8 refugees this week and 19 the following week.

To date LIRS has settled 88 Afghan refugees in the Vancouver area. That number will swell to 150 by the end of February. If you are interested in helping shop or deliver or with another area please let us know. There is need for people to drive to appointments, to set up apartments and technology, register for SNAP, WIC schools and to find employment and housing. 

Call or email for more information:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 306.573.6220

Font size: +

Subscribe to Messiah News Feed