When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. – Leviticus 19:33-34 (NIV)
What does home mean to you? It may mean your house, your family or your church. It could mean all of these.
During this Christmas season, with war, violence and natural disasters in the United States and around the world, you can know that your gifts and involvement with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship are giving a home — in every way — to people who have been forced out of the only home they’ve ever known.
You give hope and hospitality to people like Fatima who find themselves far from home.
As a new, young bride of 22, Fatima was filled with hopes and dreams of life with her husband, but just a few short months after they were married, everything changed. She found herself separated from him and alone.
Her husband, Ashraf, had been a guide and interpreter for the U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan. With U.S. troops now gone, his life was in danger. He had to escape to Germany to wait for asylum in the United States.
Ashraf finally made it to safety in the States, but now, Fatima would have to travel alone to the other part of the world just to be with her husband — a very strange and different world.
In her country, women and girls stay at home to care for the family. Because of this, Fatima did not have an education. She had never left her country or community. She was isolated. She could not read or write in her own language, let alone speak or read in English. She had never been in an airport or on an airplane.
Yet she started the long journey by herself to be with her husband. She passed through frightening, bustling airports. She left her family and all that was familiar and comfortable behind. As you can imagine, she was absolutely terrified.
Despite her fear, Fatima made it all the way from Afghanistan to the Research Triangle of North Carolina. Fatima was reunited with her husband at last.
But where would they go?
That’s where you come in. Thanks to CBF, Fatima and Ashraf are now together — in a new home.
Through your support of CBF and the Offering for Global Missions, CBF field personnel Kim and Marc Wyatt opened Welcome House last year. Your kindness and compassion welcomed Fatima and Ashraf with open arms last Christmas.
When Fatima first arrived, Kim realized she was just a little older than her own daughter.
“We couldn’t imagine our own daughter having to experience such fear and violence,” Kim said. “She looked terrified. She would barely speak or smile.”
But Kim told her, “I can see that things are different here and that you’re afraid. But one day this will feel like home, I promise. People who you have never met are praying for you.”
Through the Wyatt’s ministry, Fatima and Ashraf found a safe place to live. They found warmth and welcome, connection and community and so much more.
Fatima began to learn how to navigate life in the U.S. She learned tasks common to you and me — like shopping for food, accessing medical care and using appliances — through the loving commitment of volunteers from CBF churches nearby and young Cooperative Baptists. She started to learn English through classes led by Kim and CBF volunteers.
Now almost a year later, Fatima and Ashraf have moved into a new neighborhood where other Afghan families live. Ashraf has found a job and Fatima continues to learn English — hungry for every word she can learn. She is making friends and connections with other women.
Kim and Marc continue to be a part of her life.
Everything has changed for Fatima. Because of you, for the better. She has come to life.
“I can see a difference in her eyes now,” Kim said. “And in the way she carries herself.”
“I believe that God is speaking to her. She’s finding that Beloved Community that we all pray for,” Kim added. “She feels more at home now.”
Thanks to you, Fatima has a home. For her, home means sleeping without fear. It means an education. It means making plans for the future. It means community.
Through your support of CBF, you are giving Fatima and refugees like her a new home in every sense. You can be the hands and feet of Jesus. You can share Christ’s love with them.
Will you join us in making a special gift this Christmas to provide the warmth of home to someone who needs it?
At Christmas, we remember another young couple who had to flee from violence to a strange land — a place with a new culture; a place where they had no family or friends; a place with their new baby — Jesus.
When you welcome those who find themselves in a strange land, you welcome Jesus.
Thank you for sharing the love of Jesus Christ at Christmas and throughout the year. Please consider a gift today to provide a welcoming home for people hungry to experience God’s love today. Give online now.