After Naomi Downer read “After the Last Border” and attended our book event with the author, Jessica Goudeau, her family was inspired by the Syrian and Karen refugee families featured in the book.
“Reading these stories about the challenges they faced, leaving everything they knew behind, including some of their family members, and having to relocate to a place they were completely unprepared for moved me to action.”
Jesus said ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me.’ I kept asking ‘how can I be more welcoming?’
Jesus’ own words kept resonating in her heart. “Jesus said ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me.’ I kept asking ‘how can I be more welcoming?’” explained Naomi.
Both Naomi and her husband had previously worked with refugees years earlier but hadn’t yet found a refugee ministry in their hometown of Rochester. After doing some research and talking with a friend, they learned of Arrive Ministries and contacted us to get involved in their city. Amazingly, we were able to connect the Downer family to be a Good Neighbor with a recently arrived Syrian family who moved to Rochester in the Fall of 2020.
For the past year, the Rochester family of four has taken the al-Nabahn family on adventures to the zoo, parks, and library; and helped with menial tasks like sorting through their mail and making medical appointments.
We’re doing what we would want someone to do for us.
“We’re doing what we would want someone to do for us,” Naomi explains to her sons.
The Downers illustrates how education leads to involvement, and how the body of Christ works together to meet real human needs and provide love in word and deed.