Messiah News

"God Writes Straight With Crooked Lines "Or How Messiah Became Part of God's Plan

by Janet Borst

Messiah welcomed its last Afghan refugee in August with a refrigerator stocked and pantry full of food. Since then the federal government has not sent Afghan refugees to Clark County and it appears that there will not be more soon. However, the refugee fund still had a tidy sum of funds. Perhaps you might be interested in the history of this fund.

The refugee fund began with a fundraising concert performed by members of Lawson Jallah's former group of singers, the African Gospel Acapella Choir. The initial purpose of this fund was to bring Lawson's fiancee, Dekante, here from Liberia. And the fund was used to provide application and lawyer fees needed to process the request for immigration. Due to newly imposed restrictions the application was never successful. But Lawson, who had become an American through naturalization, was able to fly to Liberia and marry Dekante. It was hoped that this would aid in her immigration if her status was changed from fiancee to wife. Unfortunately, Lawson became very ill and succumbed before that was accomplished. Some of the remaining funds were used to ship his possessions to his wife. However some money remained in the account with various plans proposed for its use.

Then the Afghan refugee crisis happened. Lutheran Community Refugee Services asked for help from local church and community organizations. An Ad Hoc group was formed to explore how Messiah could be of help. In conversation with LCS, it was decided that we would provide the first 5 days of food for the arrivals.

To do this for the expected 200 or so folks more funding was needed and a substantial grant was given by Endowment for this purpose. Of course our generous congregation added from their own pocketbooks to this fund too. Because Messiah is at its core, a congregation that looks outward and knows how to help, we were able to supply food to 186 people as well as many other services which continue to this day. Although there have been no recent incoming refugees, several of our members continue to provide shopping services, rides to doctor appointments, aid with obtaining driver's licenses, help navigating public schools and social services. If you are interested in helping in a similar manner, please contact LCS directly.

When the Ad Hoc group was formed, it was decided that if any funds were remaining they would be given to LCS refugee services. But you know God is always working through our efforts and so a mini-miracle happened and we were able to double the remaining funds by donating on the Give More 24 day. These funds were specified to be used by the Vancouver refugee services division of LCS. If you still have the desire to support refugee services financially, you may give directly to Lutheran Community Services refugee division.

In mid October, we will meet again with Nikki Chun of the Vancouver refugee services to see what is next for our relationship. As always your prayers are requested for the stranger among us and for discernment in how we as a group can best serve.

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