121 Afghanistan Refugees Resettled
Afghanistan Refugee Resettlement Program:
A Response to Matthew’s Gospel
In the summer and early fall of 2021, Afghan Refugees* were arriving in the Detroit Metropolitan Area in search of a new life. In many cases, these families arrived with only the possessions they could carry, and they desperately needed the touch of a helping hand. In response, the Church & Society Ministry of Birmingham and Berkley First UMC partnered with two local social service agencies, Samaritas and Cass Community Social Services (CCSS), with the goal of resettling Afghan refugees in a comfortable and well-furnished homes. As Samaritas found housing for a refugee family they would put us in touch with the family and our church volunteers and CCSS (with the “Big” truck, driver, and movers) would proceed to fully furnish each home.
The incredible generosity of our congregation and friends of our church was the source of the donated furnishings that were installed in the homes of refugee families. That same spirit of generosity provided the resettlement program with over $25,000. Those dollars enabled us to purchase needed furnishings beyond what was donated and to cover the transportation costs of picking up the furnishings from donors’ homes and delivering the furnishings to the homes of refugee families. Additionally, UMCOR provided us with a Mustard Seed Grant in support of our Afghan Refugee Resettlement Program. For all these organizations, we give thanks and ask the Lord to bless their work!
The Refugee Resettlement Program was truly a church-wide effort from the many members who volunteered, to those who donated furnishings, to the family that opened their business warehouse to us, all the way to our 4th and 5th graders who put together king-size welcoming bags for the Afghan families we served. Amazing what small hands with big hearts can do!
After a full year of serving the Afghan refugee community, Refugee Resettlement Program concluded on October 31 having furnished 34 homes that now house 121 Afghan refugees (men, women, and children) stretching from the northern suburbs through Hamtramck and Detroit and into the western suburbs.
As every United Methodist knows, service to others is its own reward. The 121 lives we touched by living our faith have enriched us with their gratitude and kindness.
We heard Matthew’s Gospel call us to action and we were blessed to be able to respond.
Chapter 25 vs. 35-36.
“I was hungry, and you fed me; thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you received me in your home, naked and you clothed me; I was sick, and you took care of me.”
(*Most Afghans entering the U.S. in 2021 were officially designated “Humanitarian Parolees”. But in every sense of the word, they were truly refugees who could not go home.)