Dubuque church partners with local groups, organizations to bring Afghan refugee family to Dubuque
DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - Pastor Kyle Rains says his church, New Life in Dubuque, started doing research on Afghan refugees after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan last August. After deciding they wanted to bring some of these refugee families to Dubuque, they partnered with a national organization, Samaritan’s Purse, to become a sponsor church.
”Basically what that meant for us is we had to create a plan to be able to prove that we are ready to receive an Afghan family,” Rains explained.
The church had to prove they could provide a lot.
“Housing, education, employment opportunity, being able to help them culturally integrate into the society, we had to be able to build out a network for medical, professional services,” Rains mentioned. “So a lot of them (refugees), because of the status that they hold, they are going to be going through legal paperwork to apply to stay longer. I felt pretty overwhelmed at the beginning, so I honestly just prayed about it.”
As the pastor and his team put a lot of hard work and prayer into it, the state department approved their plan. Rains said they already have a place ready for the Afghan family of 10, who they are expecting to move in any day now.
Rains said, though, the church wants to give this new chapter of life to more refugee families.
”Our vision and goal from the beginning has really been to try to help see the Dubuque area kind of become a small Afghan community,” he added.
Bringing the families is a collaborative effort, according to Rains. The city of Dubuque, local businesses and organizations, and even the school districts chimed in. Resources Unite will help the families that come to Dubuque feel more comfortable when they set in.
“And that feeling requires us as a community to be proactive because, if we just come from this place of like, ‘Hey, you are new to the community and you are going to figure it out’… that is a privileged mindset,” Josh Jasper, Resources Unite president and CEO, explained. “That is easier for me. For years I have lived in different places, I can probably figure it out. I am a big, straight, white dude from Farley, Iowa, I can figure that out. But for someone that might be from a marginalized population or that has experienced oppression or anything like that, that can feel overwhelming.”
Resources Unite helped furnish the home for the first family. Jasper said now their goal is to get to know these people, many of whom he recognizes come with traumatic experiences of leaving home.
”Experiences I never heard or saw growing up in Farley, Iowa and so it helps us understand, ‘Ok, this person is coming from something very different and they need support with that’,” Jasper added.
New Life Church is looking for both money and item donations for Afghan refugee families who settle down in Dubuque. Those interested in donating are encouraged to visit newlifedbq.com/Afghanistan.
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