What has drawn you to the work of Arrive Ministries?
Growing up, my house was a few miles from the Mexico border. It was both frightening and heartbreaking to see the desperation of families at the border crossing. Today the refugee crisis is on the news so frequently, it’s easy to lose compassion or to feel disconnected and far removed here in Minnesota. But back then it was ever present, and growing up in a Christian family, God planted the seed that I should be loving the unwelcomed and unloved who were literally at our doorstep. Fast forward to 2008, when I was a teacher in Columbia Heights. I taught refugee students from Libya, Iraq, and Somalia and was once again profoundly impacted by the hardships and resilience of these immigrant communities. I’ve felt God calling me to do more to serve in this space for some time, but I found myself floundering on how to meaningfully contribute. I joined the Local Missions Team this summer, and when Pastor Emily presented the opportunity to work with Arrive Ministries, I was all in! Their mission is Christ-filled—to welcome, serve, and love these new neighbors into our community!
What excites you about this opportunity for CPC?
The opportunity to be a part of a CPC Good Neighbor Team excites me because it is relational! Pastor Petey often reminds us to look outside the windows because what happens in church doesn’t stay in church. We are meant to carry Christ out into the world with us, into deep relationships with others. Good Neighbor Teams walk alongside their refugee family for a year. Ultimately, the hope is that the relationship moves from a support role to a lasting friendship. We may be the first Christians the refugee family has ever encountered; what a privilege it will be to share Christ’s love with them!
For those curious but uncertain about what coming alongside a refugee looks like, what encouragement can you give?
It’s okay to be nervous and uncomfortable—it’s uncharted territory for most of us! But in all likelihood, our refugee friends will feel the same uncertainty about us. Teams consist of around 6-10 individuals, allowing members to serve as their schedule permits, so the commitment doesn’t feel overwhelming. Arrive also provides multiple training sessions, and the team meets regularly to brainstorm ways to support the family. Our goal is to be both helpers and learners, which I find really rewarding. There will be challenges, but I believe that if you ask God to give you an open heart and desire to serve, He will be there, using you in ways you couldn’t imagine!