A message from one of our Volunteers:

 

Stephen, Harun, Dina

Over the past few years, I’ve observed the indifferent attitude in this country toward refugees, and it grieved me. The more I learned about the refugee crisis, the more I felt that I should be a part of the solution.


“I felt strongly that the Church was not doing enough to fulfill its biblical calling to stand up on behalf of and care for refugees.”


 

My church, Mercy Hill, was forming a Refugee Life Ministries team through Arrive Ministries and I was immediately interested. This team was committing to walk alongside a family who fled persecution and was seeking asylum. I knew it was something I had to be a part of.

 

I am writing to share their inspiring story and to offer an invitation to join me.

 

I met the Merci family and found them to be brave, resilient, and incredibly patient. Harun and Dina Merci fled their homeland in West Africa with a 3-year-old daughter and another baby on the way. They arrived in the US on visitor visas, but their arrival in Minnesota was anything but smooth.

 


“Can you imagine the fear and loneliness they must have felt? Then to receive such hospitality from a stranger?”


They had a contact to supposedly help them get settled, but it turned out to be a bogus phone number. With nowhere to turn, their first night in Minnesota in April of 2019 was spent huddled alone at a bus stop. A stranger took notice of the family, and in a truly extraordinary act of kindness, invited them to live with her family in a small apartment for a few months.

 

Arrive Ministries Gets Involved

Arrive Ministries connected us to the Mercis after learning about the family through a partnering non-profit. Arrive set them up with an apartment, some generous members of our team offered to subsidize their rent and living expenses, and our whole church came together to furnish their new home.

Amazingly, their apartment is just two blocks away from my house. I do not think that is a coincidence. Instead it is a cool way that God is working in our friendship.

 

They often visit the park across the street from my house, so I try to stop over and push their daughter, Lily, on the swings or listen to her latest imaginative stories. At 4-years-old, Lily, is very outgoing and her English is getting really strong!

 

 

At this point, it feels like we’re just neighbors who help each other out.

 

Lily, 4-years-old

On Lily’s first day of preschool, I walked with Harun to pick her up. If Harun sees I have pulled out the ladder for a house project, he is quick to insist on helping. That is just their character. Helping is not an obligation; they are graciously thoughtful and caring toward me and our team members.

 

Harun and Dina’s asylum status with the US government is still pending, so they are not allowed to work. They have experienced delays in getting work authorization due to the pandemic and issues with paperwork filed by their legal team, but they have patiently persevered without complaint.

 

 

They are anxious to provide for their family and contribute to our community.

While they wait, they are grateful to have found safety in our country and friendship through our church team, and the feeling is mutual. I am so grateful to have met the Merci family through Arrive Ministries. It has given me an opportunity to convey God’s love to people who I may not have ever interacted with otherwise.

Mercy Hill Church team with the Mercis

 

I choose to give of my time and energy through volunteering with the Merci family, but I also give financially so Arrive can continue to impact hundreds of other families.

 

I am a single guy in my twenties, so I have more free time than some, but I am still only one person with a finite amount of time to invest in the Merci family.

 

Donating financially to Arrive Ministries is a way to multiply the impact of what I can do on my own to help reach even more refugee families.

 

Will you please join me in supporting Arrive Ministries to mobilize the church and train and equip more church teams like ours?

Sincerely,

 

Stephen Anderson
Mercy Hill Church RLM Team