If you have been watching the news in the past few weeks you will likely have seen the images of the tragedy that continues to unfold in Afghanistan and the humanitarian crisis. In times like these we might ask, what can I do? The problem is great and complex, and there is no easy solution. In a meeting this past week with leaders across the Lutheran community in Saint Louis and those that specialize in working with immigrants and refugees, we have learned that there will be around 300,000 Afghani refugees that will be coming to America by the end of the year. The International Institute, the federal governmental agency that handles refugees, had been scaled back in the past few years and is unprepared for this crisis. 1000-3000 refugees will be resettled in St. Louis alone.
There are many needs that will come, from the immediate basic needs of hygiene, toiletries, food, clothing and housing, to the long term needs of transportation, jobs, education, assimilation. Our ministry partner, Christian Friends of New Americans (CFNA), has been working in this field for many years and is highly successful in not only meeting basic human needs, but in connecting our new neighbors, who have been driven by war, famine, and civil unrest, to Jesus Christ through the local congregation.
In this time, when many are wanting to do something now, we ask for patience and understanding. In partnership with the Lutheran Foundation and the St. Louis region Lutheran congregations, we have set the goal of raising $200,000 by the end of September to support CFNA in hiring new staff to manage this crisis. The Foundation will match the amount raised by congregations, dollar for dollar.
We have a donor at Timothy that will match dollar for dollar up to $5000. That would mean your $100 donation would be worth $400.
If you would like to support this work you may give your offering in the plate and mark it “CFNA” or online at www.timothystl.org/give and select “CFNA” as the fund.
We also ask you to remember those service men and women who have served in Afghanistan over the past 20 years, have lost their lives, been injured in body and mind, and seen people they were called to protect and defend lose their lives. We ask that you would not only keep them in prayer, but to reach out to them and listen to their pain, confusion and heart in this time. In the end, as we find ourselves gaining new neighbors looking for refuge, soldiers in need of refuge, we remember God is our Refuge, He alone is our safe place in every time of trouble.