It has been a couple weeks since we gathered to celebrate Mursal, Baz, and the family’s new addition for the Baby Shower.  Our team is still working on Thank You notes, but since there were a few gifts that weren’t identified, I want to take a moment to express our gratitude… both mine and the family’s. 

The way that this congregation keeps stepping up to meet their needs and make them feel welcome as our neighbors and friends is such an incredible gift!  This is one of the most meaningful, truly relational ministries I’ve been part of, and I sure hope each of you are proud of the important work this church is doing.  This is us being Christ’s hands and feet for those most in need! 

And I am deeply grateful to everyone who has been part of this work in some way or another – no matter how small a part you think you may have played, we are learning just how true it is when people say “It takes a village.”

I also thought I’d offer some updates about the Afghan Family Support Team’s work since Baz, Mursal, Taib, and Bahar arrived in late January.  Here’s an overview by the numbers:

  • 13 members make up the Afghan Family Support Team, including a couple folks who are friends of church members or neighbors of Baz and Mursal
  • 400+ volunteer hours spent shopping for groceries, at doctor and dentist appointments, running errands, and building relationships
  • About $16,500 raised from the congregation, friends of the church, Baz and Mursal’s neighbors, and other church partners
  • Plus a $15,000 matching grant from the St. Andrew’s Fund of our Endowment
  • Over $6,000 spent so far to subsidize rent, cover monthly utilities, and meet basic needs before Baz began working
  • 4 birthdays celebrated: Baz and Taib have July birthdays; Mursal and Bahar’s are in August
  • 105 letters written to our Congressional representatives in support of the Afghan Adjustment Act!

We have some smaller numbers still to come…but BIG tasks ahead:

  • 1 (family-of-five) vehicle to purchase
  • Our budget is $15,000-20,000 thanks to your generosity and the Endowment matching grant, so we’ll be able to get them something that will last a good long while!
  • 1 baby on the way, likely on/before September 20
  • 1 new job to find for Baz (with a higher wage once they have a vehicle)
  • 2 First Days of School
  • 2nd Grade for Taib in August
  • Head Start Preschool for Bahar in September

We couldn’t do this without all of y’all!  And we’re getting a bit of good press about this important ministry: I recently did an interview for Presbyterians Today about creating change in our community and had the chance to share some of our story.  Once the story is out, we’ll be sure to share it!

Forward together, dear ones.  (Not one step back!)

Blessings and many, many thanks,