In Syria alone, because of war, ethnic cleansing and persecution, 7.6 million people are internally displaced, while another 4 million have sought refuge in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. These displaced people are more than 50% of the Syrian population; it is equivalent to everyone in Minnesota and Wisconsin being made homeless.
While the numbers are overwhelming, because of churches throughout the Twin Cities, we are making a difference in the lives of refugee individuals and families.
Today there are more refugees in Minnesota per capita than in any other state in the U.S. This is the result of many job opportunities, strong public and private support and a welcoming environment. Everyday those of us who work with Arrive Ministries get to hear stories from refugees. Like the story of a refugee from Asia who spent four years in prison, because he was of the wrong ethnic group, and then eight years as a refugee in Malaysia. After arriving in Minnesota, he and his family were taken on an outing to an apple orchard, to Dairy Queen and then to the home of a volunteer for dinner, he declared,
“This is the best day of my life.”
Another story is recounted in the letter below from Nidroon (name changed). We became aware of this Somali man through a letter he sent to our offices. He had fled Africa, made his way to South America, traveled through Central America to the United States, and then was put in detention in Louisiana while his asylum case was being reviewed by ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement). He wrote to Arrive Ministries to see if we might help him, so we put out an appeal to people in our network to see if anyone nearer to him in Louisiana might be able to provide help and encouragement.
About a month ago, one of our friends, Sam and his wife, drove three hours to visit Nidroon in detention center. Nidroon is still in detention today, but two of his fellow Somali countrymen have since been released. One has gone to Pennsylvania where he is being helped by Christ-followers there, while the other arrived in Minnesota just a few days ago and is being helped by a handful of Arrive volunteers here who love Jesus. Nidroon wrote the following letter of thanks for what people have done for him and his friends.
I hope you, your family and all your friends are doing well. We are also doing well here in detention. Firstly, I want to appreciate God who sent Arrive Ministries to connect me to a very kind, humble, friendly, sincere, generous and honest person, Mr. Sam. I won’t forget how Mr. Sam treated me, the first time his wife and him visited me at the detention center it made me weep a lot. Finally he made me calm and promised to help me at all cost.
I really thank you, how you helped my [two friends] and me. My heart is full of joy and happiness since I started receiving your phone calls and letters. I also want to appreciate and thank you how generous you sent for me the books.
Mr. Sam, believe me, I won’t forget Arrive Ministries and you, how you supported and helped the poor people with strong heart and kindness. I want to mention here also, how [my friend who was released from detention] was praising you and your friends. He told me that you are all nice and good welcoming people and is remembering how you bought a new phone, clothes and nice accommodations for the few days he was with you.
There is nothing that goes unrewarded; one day we shall pay you back the favor you gave us. Please, I kindly request [you] to look for accommodations in Minnesota since I can find many people there who will help me to get a job.
Pass my warm greetings to your wife, son, friends and Arrive Ministries. God bless you all.
I am proud to be part of a team of people who are living according to God’s word as they take to heart Micah 6:8,
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
May God help us to also act justly and to love mercy as we humbly walk with Him and continue to serve those refugees God is bringing into our lives and community.
Learn more about Arrive Ministries and how you can get involved.
This post is provided by Arrive Ministries as a part of the Ministry Spotlight initiative.