Our New Neighbors winter fundraiser is collecting money for three organizations welcoming newcomers to Minnesota. We found out that at least one Woodland family is already involved with Arrive Ministries, one of these organizations.
Sam and Kirsten Tindall started attending Woodland online during the pandemic, but they have volunteered with Arrive Ministry’s Good Neighbor program since 2017. The Good Neighbor program connects refugees with individuals or teams from churches who help new arrivals adapt to life in the US through practical things like language learning, transportation, housing and jobs.
The Tindalls joined a Good Neighbor team that originally adopted an Afghan family of eight—a family that has grown as more refugees have arrived!
What does it look like to be a Good Neighbor? Sam says, “On average, we meet with our family weekly. We have been helping them with English a little bit, and introducing them to different aspects about American culture. We took them to a Twins game, a friend’s wedding, had them over for Thanksgiving dinner and look forward to a Christmas party together. We’ve had fun doing crafts, reading books, sharing pictures, cooking, and just getting to know them. Each member of the family is on different levels of learning English, but it is so encouraging to see how you can build relationships even with a language barrier.”
This is a critical moment as Arrive Ministries expects to welcome at least 125 Afghan refugees to Minnesota in the coming months. But it’s so much more than offering logistical help; refugees need to experience the love of Jesus through a warm welcome into community.
Sam explains, “There is a great need right now for Christians to step into this role. It makes a difference for families who come fresh to the United States from areas of trauma, to feel welcomed by the community here. As Christians, we are told to welcome the foreigner and refugee residing among us. We are also told to love our neighbors as ourselves. This is an opportunity where you have the joy of showing Christ’s love to people who really could use some comfort, and then you also have the joy of learning about the depth of Christ’s love for them, as you get to build a relationship with them.”
To that we say a hearty amen!
If you would like to learn more about the organizations we are supporting and give to the New Neighbors fundraiser, click here. If you would like to volunteer with refugees, check out Arrive Ministries’ website here.