Advent 2021: A Renewed Hope
It takes a community to wrap our arms around newcomers. This Advent, Hope is partnering with Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI) to help welcome and empower over 300 refugees resettling in our community. Most of these individuals arrive to Iowa with few possessions, supplies or resources. And we can help with that! There are a number of ways to get plugged in as we help them to rebuild their lives this Advent:
We are no longer taking boxes at the West Des Moines campus.
Thank you to everyone who participated in purchasing items to fill over 500 welcome boxes for our new neighbors as a part of this project! These boxes are already being used by Afghan refugees as they have arrived, and have been a huge blessing to all those who have received them.
The weekend of Nov. 6/7, come to worship and pick up a Welcome Box, located in the Atrium. These boxes contain lists of essential supplies needed by our new neighbors – things like personal hygiene supplies, food, winter clothing, baby items and more (we are only collecting donations through the Welcome Boxes, not through individual donations – so please grab a box if you are wanting to participate!). The cost to fill these boxes ranges from $65-$270, depending on the box you select. The goal is to fill 300 boxes, and get the supplies into their hands as soon as possible (hence why we’re kicking off Advent a little early!). Please bring these boxes, filled with all designated supplies (new items only, please), back to your Hope campus Nov. 21!
We are also looking to raise money for LSI as they continue to provide support and assistance to these individuals in the months ahead! We’ve set a goal of $500,000, which is a big goal, but as we often say, God is bigger! The money raised will allow LSI to continue to assist in resettlement services, such transportation, housing and food assistance, ESL and other educational classes, cultural orientation, housing in-kind support and more! Giving can be done Nov. 27 – Dec. 25 online, through the donation buckets in the Worship Center, or by texting LSI and the dollar amount to 515-219-9093 (example: texting “LSI 50” donates $50 to our Advent Project).
Volunteers are needed to serve in a couple of ways:
- Community Mentor
As mentors to a specific Afghan family resettling in Iowa. Once assigned to a family, this volunteer position will serve as a community support for new arrivals, including things like helping shop for groceries, inviting the family over for a meal, answering community questions, and serving as a safe place/person for families to reach out to.
The majority of our new neighbors know little to no English. If you, or someone you know, is fluent in either Pashto or Dari (the native languages of Afghanistan), your help would be greatly appreciated!
Volunteers are needed to ensure newly arrived individuals have a way to get where they need to be. Volunteer responsibilities include: greet newly arrived refugees at the airport and transport them to their new home, transport individuals to and from their homes to appointments, and serve as a welcome/safe contact for newly resettled individuals.
- Apartment Set Up/Organization
Volunteers are needed to organize in-kind donations, transport, unpack, and set up furniture and household items in apartments for newly arriving families.
To learn more about these volunteer opportunities, please email [email protected] and we would love to get you plugged in!
And, of course, please join us in continually praying for these 300 individuals as they work to rebuild their lives. Put yourself in their shoes for just a moment: you arrive in a new country. You don’t know anyone, the language, or the culture, and have very little, if any, possessions. It’s hard for most of us to relate. But, we CAN pray! Pray for them as they navigate this new world and work to overcome language barriers, all while seeking things like employment, housing, transportation, basic supplies and other necessities. Pray for the children as they start school. Pray they find community and friendships in the months ahead. And, most of all, pray that they may be filled with HOPE and the presence of the Holy Spirit amidst it all. It’s good to be the church, Hope!