The Bible calls us to show hospitality to strangers (Hebrews 13:2) and declare the glory of Jesus to the nations of the world (Psalm 96:3). In a sad and surprising way, these two calls have come together. We can declare the glory of Jesus by showing hospitality right here in our own city, our own Metro area, to Afghan refugee families arriving soon.
Recently, hundreds of families fled from their homes in Afghanistan and are now being relocated around the world, including in Omaha/Council Bluffs. In the coming months, our area will welcome 100+ families (500+ people) who will arrive with nearly nothing. No furniture. No money. And often not even an ability to speak our language. But we can serve them. We can show them the glory of Jesus by practicing hospitality.
With so many families arriving, it will take the coordinated efforts of many churches and organizations to do this well. So our church is exploring ways to do our part. Can we invite you to consider some ways to help? God might invite you to join this effort.
* You could help coordinate donations to fill up an apartment for an arriving Afghan family. All kinds of donations – from furniture to pots and pans to clothes to beds – will be needed, and you might have the administration skills to help.
* You could donate things for arriving families. Maybe you have some furniture or clothes or blankets or tables and chairs. Nearly everything is needed, and you can help!
* You could store donations temporarily. These refugee families will arrive sporadically and often with only a couple days’ notice, so having a garage or warehouse or other space to store donations, allows our church or other organizations to be as prepared as possible for the families’ arrivals.
* You could pick up donations and take them where they are needed. Got a truck or van? Want to use it to go pick up donations and take them to a storage place or a family’s apartment. You can help!
* You and your City Group can journey with an arriving family. When families arrive they simply need friends who can daily check in on them, help them learn how to read mail, shop for groceries, apply for jobs, and adjust to life in Council Bluffs. You can help!
* You can help provide places to live. If you are a landlord, you can help provide places for arriving families to live. We can connect you with trained leaders and wise organizations who can help you navigate lease contracts and financial expectations for the arriving families.
There are so many ways to help. Please join us in prayer and, as God leads, jump in and help!