Immigrants and Refugees

by Mim Tilton October 19, 2018

As a new committee under the Mercy Commission, the Immigrant & Refugee (I&R) Committee is planning ongoing care and support for our refugee family, the Asukulus, over the next five years. The children are: Mercredi (male, 18); Shikasana (male, 15); Nyemia (female, 12); Alpha (male, 10); and Vision (male, 7).

After fleeing the violent, war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa and living in Tanzanian and Malawian refugee camps for sixteen years, the Asukulu family, through the UN High Commission for Refugees, was approved and cleared by the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security.

They arrived in the U.S. in September 2016 and were assigned to Bethany Christian Services (BCS) for resettlement. BCS staff provided initial case management as well as financial and legal support for the Asukulus. BCS approached Tenth Presbyterian Church to provide volunteer assistance with some of the other resettlement needs for this family. Tenth members gave spiritual and emotional support and donated funds, furniture, meals, clothing, and household items. Many Tenth members reached out to the family in fellowship, including providing rides to church, taking them on aquarium and museum trips, meeting material needs, and hosting the family in their homes.

Currently, the mother, who is single-parenting, is working two part-time jobs and financially meeting the family’s basic needs. The I&R Committee volunteers help primarily with the children’s spiritual and educational needs, including trips to church and youth group, spiritual mentoring, tutoring for school, hosting the family for meals, gathering school uniforms and supplies, school tuition, and other ongoing needs.

Your prayers for this ministry are very much appreciated. Members of the committee include David & Sandy Allen, Sabita Balgobin, Enrique Leal, Bruce & Anne McDowell, Melanie Oudkerk, Carol Pfeifer, Bruce and Mim Tilton (chair), and Ray Withers.

If you have questions or would like to participate in this ministry in any way, please feel free to contact Mim Tilton, or Enrique Leal.