JULY 10, 2018
THOUGHTS FROM AN IMMIGRANT
A former immigrant who attended the Welcome Home volunteer training on June 30 in Tacoma offered this observation:
“Of course! Having a friend who knows the community is such a great help to a newcomer from another country. My life would have been much easier if a Welcome Home volunteer would have befriended me. Now, I want to give back to others. I know it will make a difference!”
Communities in western Washington continue to welcome “new neighbors” from around the globe. Welcome Home exists to equip volunteers who want to help these newcomers make a “happier landing.” We can show how you can assist in many practical ways, and how your volunteering life is enriched through the work of Welcome Home.
Our invitation is more relevant now that ever: “Expand your circle of friends by one; choose to make that person someone who is foreign-born.” Join us!
May 4, 2018
“A TREMENDOUS BEGINNING!”
Dear Friends of Welcome Home,
It’s a great privilege to provide you with the latest update on the work of Welcome Home because we have just completed our first year of ministry! In some ways, the first twelve months of our work looked a lot like the beginning of any other start-up. We secured office space. We developed a website and other marketing materials. We began the ongoing task of gaining funding. We worked hard to “get the word out” and tell as many people as we could about who Welcome Home is and what we do. Many of these activities looked similar to the early stages of other businesses that cropped up around the Puget Sound region this past year.
In the midst of that “sameness”, please don’t overlook a very obvious fact. God has been at work in remarkable ways as Welcome Home told public and church audiences about the current realities of refugee resettlement in the United States. Many who heard responded, “What can Ido to welcome my new neighbors?” As we have equipped and mobilized people from Everett to Olympia, many have begun positive, ongoing, in-depth relationships with individuals from around the world who now live in their communities. Birthed from an idea which was affirmed and encouraged by key leaders within The Church of the Nazarene just one year ago, Welcome Home became a reality that has touched lives with the help and hope of Christ. And, that strong beginning now enables Welcome Home to move into the second year of work with an expanded focus.
ACTIVITIES: THE YEAR IN REVIEW
A list of everything that happened during year one would be quite long. The following are some of the key indicators of progress which we’ve tracked:
- Sunday AM messages given on refugee and immigrant issues: 12
- Other Welcome Home presentations (i.e., school officials, social service providers, refugee, and immigrant conferences, etc.):25
- Volunteer training events: 10
- Training-event attendees: 118
- Funding: our first year, Welcome Home received significant funding assistance from;
- Washington Pacific District of the Church of the Nazarene
- Nazarene Compassionate Ministries
- The Windermere Foundation
- Several Puget Sound area churches
- Individual donors
These “early adopters” of the vision and work of Welcome Home not only enabled us to cover all of our expenses,
the funding provided will allow us to begin year two of ministry with a financial balance! What a blessing!
LOOKING AHEAD: YEAR TWO
Effective May 1, I became the pastor of Tacoma Nazarene Church. A congregation that has existed for over a century, it is in the middle of an urban neighborhood dealing with many transition issues. A key Welcome Home principle – to develop cross-cultural friendships which provide opportunities to share life and Christ with new friends – will be a strong focus at Tacoma Nazarene in the years ahead. Very soon, a second Welcome Home office will also open at the church, so we can more effectively equip and mobilize people from the Tacoma/North Pierce County community. Your help in building a strong, viable foundation for Welcome Home in its first year makes this expansion possible. Thank you!
Today, Welcome Home “community companions” work as volunteers in ESL programs in various locations. They spend time with new friends referred by resettlement agencies. They reach out to foreign-born people who have begun attending area churches. These indicators clearly show that people docare about their new neighbors. They show Welcome Home is giving assistance to many ready to add a foreign-born neighbor to their circle of friends. Please praythat this tremendous beginning which has occurred will continue. People from around the world are at our front door. Let’s choose to say, “Welcome!”