As the U.S. was responding to the urgent humanitarian crisis following the military withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, the Kakar family, following their emergency evacuation, was staying on a military base in Virginia.
Within days of arriving, unsure of where they would rebuild their lives, a new life entered the world. Lialoma Kakar gave birth to her sixth child on a military base, the only U.S. Citizen in their family.
But Lialoma and Raihan Kakar had little time to snuggle or swoon over their newborn son, they received word of a flight booked to Minneapolis, assigned to be resettled by Arrive Ministries. Minnesota would be their new home.
One year ago, a warm welcome.
In response to the hasty evacuations unlike anything seen in modern history; a record number of Good Neighbor teams organized to show love to these newly arriving families. Arrive Ministries staff expedited training for volunteers from River Valley and Eagle Brook churches, in time to greet the Kakar family at the airport.
For the Kakar family, and for the hundreds of other refugee arrivals we serve, a team of Arrive Ministries case managers offered practical support from day one: setting up their home, enrolling the kids in school, offering job interview support, signing them up for benefits, medical assistance, and English classes.
In partnership with a team of volunteers, the Kakars learned some basics on life in America, “We took them on trips to the food shelf and grocery stores twice a week, teaching them how to use a washing machine, and what those big (garbage) cans were for in front of their house,” said Dave, one of the Good Neighbor volunteers.
Arrive Ministries is still resettling new Afghan families who are arriving to Minnesota in search of stability and friendship. And although incredibly resilient, the 134 Afghans and 233 refugees we welcomed this past year, including the Kakars, are still in a vulnerable state needing the support of staff and volunteers.
The scope of our work at Arrive Ministries is that when the headlines reporting on urgent conflicts fade, we are still here to offer support.
Today, baby Kakar is nearly one-year-old and on the verge of walking. His mother, Lialoma is learning English with the help of a volunteer tutor connected by Arrive Ministries and was given a sewing machine. The kids are attending school, Raihan is working full-time and trying to get his driver’s permit; and the family continues to seek permanent residency with the help of our immigration team. Arrive Ministries staff and volunteers are continuing to offer support and friendship.
“It’s been nice to see them grow and become more comfortable in this country. They told me they pray for our good health because we’re so good to them. It makes me feel good to know that we’ve helped make their life easier,” said Dave.
They told me they pray for our good health because we’re so good to them. It makes me feel good to know that we’ve helped make their life easier
Today, our staff and volunteers are still providing relational and practical support, decreasing many of the barriers our new neighbors may face, and accelerating their ability to thrive in Minnesota. This year, Arrive Ministries mobilized nearly 1,000 volunteers to wrap around refugee families with love, friendship and practical support. Next year, we will do it again as we welcome another 300+ refugees from Afghanistan, Ukraine, Congo, Burma and more.