Neighbors of MN
Haley

 

I truly believe God’s plan for my life is to interact with, advocate for and be immersed in cultures that are not my own.

Growing up a pastor’s kid and having various opportunities to go on mission’s trips ignited a fire in me to travel and learn about other cultures at a young age. Following a year abroad after college, I began working with an organization traveling to serve communities in other countries.


This process threw us into a whirlwind of lawyers, paperwork and forcing both of us to move to Mexico, a country neither of us knew.


When I met my husband in 2015, God began a new phase of my journey. During our engagement, my husband ran into issues with his DACA status that resulted in his deportation to Mexico. This process threw us into a whirlwind of lawyers, paperwork and forcing both of us to move to Mexico, a country neither of us knew.

The following four years have been spent waiting.


Waiting to go home. Waiting for our family to be reunited. Waiting for status updates.


Waiting to go home. Waiting for our family to be reunited. Waiting for status updates. We are praying this next year will finally be the year are able to move back to the United States.

During this time I have learned a lot about the legal process of immigration and all that those who come to the U.S. from other countries have to go through. This whole confusing ordeal led me to work toward a Master’s degree in Social Work so that I can pursue a career in immigration advocacy and policy change.

A specific passion of mine is to offer assistance and support to families of refugees and immigrants who are impacted by the difficult and lengthy process. There are so many papers and offices that stand between a child being reunited with their parent, a husband to his wife, or a brother to his siblings. When the process has finally been completed and these families can be reunited it is a flurry of emotion; then starts the journey of adapting to a brand new culture.


We all long for connection. God placed that within us. You don’t have to work at a refugee resettlement agency to offer that…


As part of my MSW degree, I selected an agency to complete my two-semester practicum, which is how I encountered Arrive Ministries. What Arrive is able to do for refugee families is something that has so much meaning to me. Having experienced what it feels like to arrive in a country where you don’t yet have a home, you don’t know the language, the culture, or any people; gives me a perspective that I hope can help me understand even a sliver of what the families Arrive resettles are going through when they step off of the airplane. Most refugees have gone through years of waiting before they finally arrive. I imagine it can make the transition feel surreal and dream-like, and yet so overwhelming it would make you want to shut down. I believe the kindness of just one person can cut through that loneliness. That’s what Arrive Ministries is offering to the refugees they receive.

Being able to join this team, even for just a couple of semesters, is something that is so special because I get to walk alongside families who are reuniting, oftentimes after years -even decades- of separation as they adjust to a new life. We can meet them where they are at and be just one friendly face to cut through the noise. Sometimes all it takes is a smile and a simple conversation.


A smile and a simple hello could cut through the chaos and loneliness, and make someone feel welcome.


There were days after moving to Mexico, where a trip to the coffee shop and an exchange with the cashier who took my coffee order was enough to lift my spirit and remind me I wasn’t alone.

We all long for connection. God placed that within us. You don’t have to work at a refugee resettlement agency to offer that; you can do it with your neighbor, with the other parents at your child’s school, with the family you see in the grocery store. A smile and a simple hello could cut through the chaos and loneliness, and make someone feel welcome.