Acceptance. Friendship. Hope: Good Neighbor Teams go beyond supplying material needs to refugees
World Relief currently provides refugees with resettlement assistance that includes housing, employment services, micro-enterprise loans and immigration services. But we cannot do it alone. We depend heavily on volunteer and church support, both financially and in practical ways. Churches and small groups around the country are mobilizing into Good Neighbor Teams to serve newly arriving refugee families for a period of six to 12 months—supplying material needs like food, clothing, and transportation, and tangible services like school registration, community orientation, job preparation and English tutoring.
Good Neighbor Teams also recognize the importance of offering even greater gifts to refugee families. By valuing the stories, dreams and contributions of the newcomers, churches and small groups are extending the gifts of friendship, belonging, and acceptance to those who are entering an unfamiliar world.
Life Center North Church in Spokane recognized its vision and mission fit seamlessly into World Relief’s mission to empower the local Church to serve the most vulnerable. The church’s leadership trusted God to catalyze missionally-minded people from among its 1,100-member congregation to form an initial World Relief Good Neighbor Team.
The team, comprised of people of different ages and stages of life, came alongside recent refugees to Spokane, including the 11-member Muslim family from Somalia. Lead Pastor Mark Mead, who led the initial team, said, “We are connected to a mission beyond ourselves as we obey the Great Commission.” He expected the team would be a blessing to refugee families, but he wasn’t expecting the blessings that came to him and his church as a result of serving. In the next year, the church hopes to form six to ten more Good Neighbor Teams.
“We share the mission of Jesus and that is what attracts people to our group,” says Pastor Mead. “Thank you, World Relief for helping mobilize the local church to what moves the heart of God.”