Sharing Christ’s Love With Others
When Afghanistan fell to the Taliban in August 2021, and displaced citizens of the country were desperately fleeing the terror and repression, the United States and many other countries provided assistance to the exiles who were successful in getting out of the country. At St. Francis Episcopal, a small group of parishioners determined to assist in the effort to resettle those coming to America. We volunteered to resettle a family of four, and waited to be matched with a family. In late January 2022, we were approached by the resettlement agency and asked if we might be willing and able to resettle an extended family of 16! Two brothers, their wives, and their 12 children who were on their way to Virginia.
We gulped, but we agreed. By this time we had already gathered enough donated furniture, houseware, kitchenware, beds, bedding, towels and supplies to fully furnish a small townhome with four people. We redoubled our request to the St. Francis congregation and gathered enough for 2 homes with 8 people each. In mid-February, we moved the first brother’s family into their new home in Leesburg. In March, we moved the second brother’s family into their new home in Sterling.
In the following months, St. Francis continued our assistance with the goal of supporting their successful transition to life in America. We’ve helped with:
- assisting the older children to find entry-level employment
- providing research and assistance on immigration paperwork, community language classes, public transportation options & community and government assistance
- arranging and paying for 6 months of cellular voice and data service for 11 family members
- organizing Franciscan volunteers who provided introductory English tutoring for the adults and older children
- purchasing one car for the first family, and soon will purchase a second car for the remaining family.
Overall, the St. Francis Episcopal family has contributed tens of thousands of dollars and countless hours in support. We thank all of the donors for their limitless generosity and kindness. Every time we stepped forward with another request, Franciscans came forward and made possible the impossible.
On November 20, 2022, the Faizy family (pronounced Fay-zy) visited St. Francis as a group to thank us for our kindness. Their speeches of gratitude, particularly the remarks by Meena Faizy, moved everyone who heard the story of their journey from Afghanistan to Virginia. After the speeches, Franciscans held a Thanksgiving potluck with all the fixings, and we all broke bread together. Many Franciscans commented that it was wonderful to have the opportunity to meet the Faizys in person, and to hear their stories. All agreed it was a wonderful lunch, and Thanksgiving a wonderful opportunity to share with them. Following are pictures of the event, Meena’s written remarks, and a video of all the family remarks.
See more posts on our Outreach Blog page
Each year the Outreach Committee promotes specific outreach projects and facilitates parishioner involvement. These projects include meals for the Salvation Army Grate Patrol, food drives for local families in need, school supplies drives, an annual Christmas toy drive and party for Samaritan Ministry and Housing Up families, a diaper drive for a local shelter, Sunday dinners for Second Story’s teen shelter, and tutoring in Anacostia.
St Francis Episcopal Church Outreach Committee