A Look Back | One Family’s Journey To The US

Amanda Tlumach  |  News  |  Missions

Refugee. What would it be like?

I recently heard it described like this. Refugees are often running what could be likened to a marathon. If you’ve ever run a race of any distance, you probably know the excitement and satisfaction of seeing and knowing the end is now within sight. You’ve been running for so long and your weary body is in need of a rest. For refugees, fleeing their country and being granted access to a new country is not the end; next is the resettlement process. Imagine being told as you step over the finish line, “You’re not done yet. Just two more miles to go.” Resettlement to a new land, new cultures, new language is a long road ahead. You now face countless new customs that you must aim to understand and adapt to: new expectations of parenting, transportation, employment, worship, education, food/diet and engaging your neighbors. This list could keep going. That’s why the importance of having a team of people help with this transition is invaluable.

I don’t speak from first hand experience of actually being a refugee. My heart was sensitive to the need that was offered at CFC late last September. Afterall, my husband, Ilya came to America at the age of 7 as a refugee. His family of 13 was sponsored by two local Lancaster County churches. Surely, my life would be different without the countless families that provided them with medical appointment transportation, language practice, home and clothing items, friendship and job opportunities. Again, the list could keep going.

Our kids really love the simple story of Ilya’s first school friend, Frank. As a first grader, Frank approached Ilya at recess with a ball and simply invited him to play with him and his buddies. Since Ilya didn’t speak or understand english, some gesturing and facial expressions really went a long way. That was the start of a new friendship. Frank took Ilya under his wing as he learned to understand the new world of elementary school around him. When other kids would call him “comm-i” or distrust him, despite the fact that his family forsook their home country on account of a ruthless Communist system, Ilya now had a solid friendship to lean on. A few years ago, Ilya reunited with Frank and our kids interacted with him like he was a superstar. I bear witness to how great the impact can be on befriending, supporting and helping someone in a vulnerable situation.

Would you like to be a part of a tremendous effort to impact the lives of people truly needing to be surrounded by God’s love and care? The Daniel family of 7 relocated to Lancaster city last October. Wednesday, March 28 marked their 6th month anniversary of coming to the United States of America. Bethany Refugee and Resettlement services has cared for their transition process and generally, this support ceases at 3 or 6 months after resettlement. Many CFC volunteers have stepped up to prepare their home, welcome them at the airport, transport them to church or various appointments, help them with their ESL classes, invite them to social outings, teach them the bus system, help them learn to drive or offered them a job. Again, the list could keep going. And it will keep going. Would you consider getting involved in this effort of love and care?

Join the Refugee Ministry as we invite the Daniel family; Daniel & Nambibi, Bienvenu (age 17), Peace (12), Steve (10), Moses (6) and Mamy (4) to share their story. They didn’t choose to be refugees, they were forced to become refugees. They left the Congo, fled to Burundi where they lived in a refugee camp for at least 17 years. Come meet and interact with this family on Friday, April 13th at 7pm. Doors open at 6:30 for coffee/tea and light refreshments; their time of sharing will start at 7pm. Kindly RSVP on the CFC website. Childcare will be offered with advance registration on the website.

Amanda Tlumach | CFC Refugee Ministry