Future Missionaries Donate Vehicle to Help Refugees
When refugees relocate to Minnesota, one of the big challenges they face is transportation. Most will ultimately come to rely on the public bus and rail system to get around, but this isn’t an ideal solution. Daily commutes to and from work can run upwards of an hour for many refugees. And imagine how difficult it is for someone shopping for a family of 10 to get all of their groceries home on the bus!
A goal for most refugees is to get their own car, but this presents several other obstacles:
- Obtain a Driver’s Permit – Unless they can find someone who will interpret for them on test day, refugees must take the knowledge test in English.
- Practice Driving – Refugees must find a licensed driver to practice with, which can be difficult for someone who just moved here.
- Pass the Driving Test – No interpreters are allowed during the practical driving test, so refugees must have a decent grasp of English to understand the administrator’s verbal instructions.
- Buy a Car – Considering the initial cost of a vehicle, gas, maintenance, and basic insurance, this is by far the most expensive obstacle.
Recently, a generous Minnesota couple helped a refugee family overcome this hurdle by offering up their family van. Andrew and Larissa Dvorak purchased their Dodge Caravan several years ago when Larissa was 8 months pregnant, and they needed a new car for their growing family. The Dvoraks brought their baby home from the hospital in this van, and later it helped them move across the country a couple of times. The van has seen their family through a lot of transition, but it won’t be able to follow them on their next big move.
While planning to move to Papua New Guinea as missionaries, the Dvoraks knew the family van couldn’t come with them. They thought of selling it to help with moving expenses, but then they remembered Arrive Ministries.
After talking and praying over their options, Andrew and Larissa decided they wanted to donate their van to help refugees in transition. They approached Arrive Ministries with this unique offer.
We don’t pretend to know what it’s like to be a refugee, but we hope that the use of this vehicle can play even a small part in making such a tremendous and complex transition easier.
“We don’t pretend to know what it’s like to be a refugee,” Larissa said, “but we hope that the use of this vehicle can play even a small part in making such a tremendous and complex transition easier.”
Arrive Ministries staff were astounded by this radical display of generosity. “Not only did they give a minivan,” commented Development Director, Chris Nelson, “but they made sure it was immaculate on the inside and out; they cleaned it, changed the oil, and ensured there were no mechanical issues. Even better, the van came with a full tank of gas and a gas card!”
Arrive identified a great new home for the van shortly after receiving it from the Dvoraks, and one summer day, Sayed Hamidi purchased it for roughly 5% of its resale value. Sayed recently fled from Afghanistan with his family and is gradually getting established in Minnesota. He worked hard to pass his final driving test and was thrilled that he could buy a car at such a low rate.
“I am so grateful for this van.” Sayed said. “I have a large family, and it would not be possible to transport them all in a smaller car.”
This van will not only take Sayed and his family where they need to go, it can take them where they want to go. This is a giant step towards experiencing more freedom as a family: freedom to go places they couldn’t reach on public transportation, to decide where they go, when they go, and who comes with them.
I am so grateful for this van. I have a large family, and it would not be possible to transport them all in a smaller car.
This freedom is priceless for families who lost everything to seek refuge in a new and confusing place. Drivers who have always had this freedom may take it for granted, but for families like Sayed’s, a minivan is a big deal.