#MissionMonday – Refugee Resettlement Update (Feb. 2024)

The Nassau Church Refugee Coordinating Team has provided this update on the Hashimi family, the Afghan refugee family that Nassau Church has sponsored.

This past summer, the Coordinating Team reported the good news that the family’s asylum applications had been approved. This gave the family the legal right to live and work in the United States and to apply for permanent residency and eventually citizenship.

More recently, the father of the family who is stranded in Dubai has received preliminary approval for his spousal asylum application and an invitation to submit his information for a visa. That could still take a long time to resolve, but the Coordinating Team is hopeful that things are moving in a positive direction.

There is other good news. The second oldest daughter has passed her GED and is enrolled at Mercer County Community College. Her mother and older sister are also enrolled there.

The oldest son is still working at Princeton Orthopedics, and his brother is in the process of enrolling in a commercial pilot training program which will prepare him for a promising career.

We are grateful that they and all the members of the family have been such cheerful and enthusiastic partners in our work together.

We want to recognize the ongoing commitment of the Refugee Coordinating Team, who are walking alongside the Hashimi’s as they continue to navigate immigration, education, and medical systems.  Our thanks to them and the other volunteers who have given of their time and resources as part of Nassau’s commitment to support refugees.

#MissionMonday – Refugee Resettlement Update (August 2023)

From the Refugee Coordinating Team, an update on the Hashimi family, the Afghan refugee family that Nassau Church has sponsored.

Last October, the Hashimi family was kind enough to share their inspiring story during an adult education class. Since then, they have continued to make progress in building a new life in Princeton.

By the end of last year, they had completed the arduous process of applying for asylum in the United States. After waiting patiently for months, now all of their asylum applications have been approved (except for one still pending for one of the sons). For those who have been approved, that means they now have legal status to live and work in the United States – and may eventually apply for permanent residency and citizenship.

As asylees, the family can also seek approval to visit the father in Dubai, where he is stranded. He has applied for humanitarian parole status and is also applying under other programs for the right to join his family here, including through his wife’s new status. All of these options have significant wait times.

There is also progress on the housing front. We are glad to report that the Hashimi family has moved out of the temporary housing that had been provided through Princeton Seminary and are now in their own housing at Princeton Community Village.

Another key priority had been their education, and they are making progress on that as well. One of the older sisters is working hard to earn a high school equivalency degree. She had been on the verge of finishing high school when they had to leave Kabul, and her credits could not be transferred. We are excited that she recently passed the social studies section of the GED and continues to work on the rest.

All of this progress was aided by volunteers from Nassau, including many of you here this morning. So, on behalf of the Refugee Coordinating Team, our thanks to you and all others who have given of your time and resources as part of Nassau’s commitment to support refugees. We are truly grateful for your support and ask for your continued prayers for the family, and particularly for their reunification with the father. Thank you.

Refugee Asylum Petitions

Request from Nassau’s Refugee Coordinating Team:

Please consider signing two petitions in support of the Hashimi family’s immigration applications.

The first petition is for Soraya’s Asylum application. The second petition is for the Humanitarian Parole application by Ahmad, Soraya’s husband, who is currently stranded in Dubai, now separated from his family for more than a year-and-a-half. Both applications were submitted to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services office last Fall with little apparent progress made to date on either one.

The family did not come to the United States with the refugee documentation that our previous families have had because of the sudden and chaotic evacuation from Kabul. With that in mind, Nassau retained an immigration attorney now working with the family on the application processes. In consultation with the attorney, the Refugee Coordinating Team with support from the Mission & Outreach Committee ask for your help in petitioning for the reunification of the Hashimi family.

The petitions can be signed at a table in the conference room during Fellowship between services, or in the office hallway after the 11:00 a.m. service on either March 26th or April 2nd.

Let us together support the immigration applications of this long-separated family and honor their life-changing role as American partners and allies.

Contact Tom Charles (email)

#MissionMonday – Refugee Resettlement Update (Dec ’22)

In the midst of this season of Advent, we are pleased to offer a Minute for Mission with a brief update on the family from Afghanistan that Nassau Church has sponsored for resettlement in Princeton.

It’s hard to believe, but we’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of their arrival in Princeton. On behalf of the coordinating committee, which includes Sue Jennings, Tom Charles, Lauren Valvanis, and Len Scales, we offer a sincere “Thank You” to the congregation. We are so grateful for those who have helped in this effort as volunteers and to all who have contributed to the Nassau Church Refugee Resettlement Fund.

So many of you have served as volunteers over this past year – by rough count, the total number of volunteers is well over 50, and you’ve donated over 1,800 hours of volunteer work this year, plus much more behind the scenes that we’ll never know about. It’s a gift of love, and we are very thankful.

As many of you may remember, the Hashimi family was kind enough to share their story in compelling detail during an adult education class on October 2nd. A recording of that session is available on the Nassau website (link).

They recently celebrated Thanksgiving and are grateful that their new home and all the support they’ve received in building a new life in the United States. And it really is remarkable how much progress they have made over this past year: they have successfully enrolled the younger children in local schools, found jobs for the older ones, made progress in learning English, navigated the health care system to get vaccinations, dental and other medical care, met the requirements to get drivers licenses, and one family member has even begun to take college classes.

With the help of a lawyer arranged with Nassau’s help, they have completed the arduous application process for asylum in the United States. They are now awaiting news about whether they have been approved. We have reached out to our elected representatives to ask for their help in expediting their application and hope they will hear good news about their approval within the next few months.

Unfortunately, the family is still awaiting news of approval for the father, Said Ahmad, to join the family in the US. He was not in Kabul when the city fell, and therefore wasn’t admitted along with the rest of the family. He has applied for humanitarian parole status and is also applying under other programs that may lead to him being able to enter the US. We spoke to him by Zoom yesterday, and he sends his greetings and thanks. I’m eager for you to get to meet him.

There are at least two additional challenges facing the family. The first is an important educational hurdle. One of the older sisters is working hard to earn a high school equivalency degree. She was on the verge of finishing high school when they had to leave Kabul and her credits were unable to be transferred.

The second relates to their housing. The family currently lives in a house generously provided by the seminary, but we will need to help them to find a new place sometime early next year.

We ask for your continued prayers for the family as they deal with all of these challenges.

We also ask you to consider a year-end gift to Nassau Refugee Resettlement fund. We have covered the expenses incurred thus far from past donations, but we need to rebuild that fund so that it is available for any future needs for this family, as well as to be in a position to welcome to a future refugee family when the time is appropriate.

Thank you for continuing to surround the Coordinating Team with support and the family with love!

#MissionMonday – Refugee Family Update (August 2022)

August 2022

The Refugee Coordinating Team is very happy to share an update on the members of the Afghan refugee family that Nassau Church has sponsored.  We are so pleased with their progress since our last report and greatly appreciate the volunteer help provided by so many Nassau members.

The team is continuing to assist the members of the family living in Princeton in applying for asylum, as well the father in seeking “humanitarian parole” so he can join the rest of the family.

This summer has been a very busy time for the six children of this family, who range in age from adolescents to young adults.

The two sons continue to be very engaged in their support of the family and their education. The older son is working at a medical office in Princeton, while the younger son is re-starting his education at Mercer County Community College while continuing to work at a local grocery store.

The youngest daughter graduated this spring from elementary school. She is attending the YMCA summer camp and taking math classes at Princeton Middle School.

The next youngest daughter is also taking math classes this summer to prepare for the start of the school year. Her classes are at Princeton High School.

The third youngest daughter recently faced the challenge of aging out of the Princeton Public Schools, having almost graduated from her school in Afghanistan prior to her departure. She is working to complete her high school equivalency degree by passing the GED test, with ESL assistance from Beverly Leach.

The oldest daughter is working at Costco. She and her sisters rely on the support from volunteer drivers from our congregation for their transportation.

Angie Olsen organizes this group of drivers and provides a weekly schedule to keep everyone on track. Some additional help with this driving would be greatly appreciated. If you would like to be added to the driver list or can help in other ways, please contact Len Scales at the Church office (email).

As we hold this family in prayer, please especially pray that the father can be reunited with his family here in Princeton through the humanitarian parole process.

Refugee Resettlement Update (May 2022)

The Refugee Coordinating Team is excited to share developments with the Afghan Refugee Family—they are investing in work, school, and extended family in the region. We couldn’t be more pleased with the progress of their transition to the States, and we deeply appreciate the continued support of the Nassau Church Family. Together, we are helping make a home for this family away from their homeland.

With a large family of adolescents and young adults it has been an exciting season of planning for summer jobs and coursework. Three family members have found rewarding employment, one is enrolled in Mercer Community College for the fall, and others are planning for summer school and activities.

The family is now a two-car household! We are grateful for the generosity of the congregation in donations from funds to vehicles and, of course, time. With the summer months approaching and the need for more transportation not provided by the school system, we are looking for additional drivers. This requires a background check and willingness to sign up for driving shifts as you are available.

We are looking for a few additional household items as well: lawn mower, picnic table(s) and chairs, wifi compatible printer, and dvd player.

If you would like to be added to the driver list or have possible donations, please contact Len Scales (email) for next steps.

As you hold this family in prayer, please especially pray for the reunification between the father and the family. Nassau is working with an immigration attorney to navigate the process to bring the father to the states as soon as is possible. Through all the trauma of the last eight months, one of the most difficult situations has been the distance it has put between loved ones.

Thank you for surrounding the Coordinating Team with support and the family with love!

Refugee Resettlement Update (Mar. 2022)

Thanks to the active support and assistance from church members, much progress has been made in the resettlement of the Afghan family that Nassau is sponsoring.

Over the past month, the family has made significant progress in settling into their new home and beginning their new lives in the Princeton community. As a first step in addressing their transportation needs, the family now owns a car that was generously donated by a Nassau Church member. The oldest son has successfully received his driver’s license, and this will allow him to commute to his new job working in a medical office. The other son has also found employment at a local grocery store. The mother and oldest daughter have been focusing on daily ESL classes, while the other daughters are doing well at their respective schools. Many Nassau volunteers are helping the family with transportation; we anticipate that as additional family members obtain drivers licenses, they will be needing a larger car so the whole family can travel together when necessary. If you are in a position to donate a minivan or other large vehicle, please contact the church office by email.

The family is enjoying social activities organized by Nassau staff and members. Two of the daughters recently enjoyed attending a Super Bowl party with Nassau Youth, while the two brothers had fun at a Princeton University men’s basketball game, which they attended with church members (where they watched Princeton beat Harvard).

Nassau volunteers helped the family engage a local lawyer with experience in immigration issues and they are now working toward getting approval for their father to reunite with the rest of the family in Princeton. The church’s Refugee Resettlement Fund is assisting with a portion of the legal expenses. The resettlement team continues to be deeply grateful for the enthusiastic response to our requests for assistance and asks for your continuing prayers for the family.

Refugee Resettlement Update (Feb. 2022)


As we reported in Generations in early January, Nassau is serving as the community resettlement sponsor for one of the thousands of families from Afghanistan who fled after its fall to the Taliban. These families have been housed in tents and barracks at Fort Dix and other military bases across the country awaiting the opportunity to start a new life in a welcoming community.

We were very excited in late December to learn of our opportunity to welcome a family with six children into our community. The resettlement team warmly welcomed the family on behalf of Nassau Church when they arrived just days later.

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. – Matthew 25:35

Since then, the team has been working with the family as they create a new home and acclimate themselves to their new surroundings. This has included accompanying them on shopping trips, as well as visits to the bank, the library, and doctor appointments. We have also helped them complete the process of enrolling the three youngest children into the local schools. A team of English Language tutors will soon start working with some family members each weekday. The family has been heartened to be able to visit with extended family members who live in the region. We are beginning to work with the family on the immigration process that will allow for the arrival of their father into the United States.

The resettlement team is deeply grateful for the enthusiastic response to our requests for assistance to welcome the family and assist in their resettlement. We have one specific request: we hope members of the congregation will be able to help us find appropriate employment opportunities for the adult children. One of them recently finished medical school and was beginning to work in health care in Afghanistan, while the other has business skills. Please contact the church office if you can help with this.

We ask for your continuing prayers for the family as they establish a new life away from their homeland.

The Refugee Resettlement Team

Refugee Resettlement Update (Jan. 2022)

In the words of Howard Thurman:

 When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.

More than fifty years ago, members of Nassau Church led a grassroots movement of our congregation to welcome our first refugee family. Since then, countless Nassau members – recently including Tom Charles, Sue Jennings and Ann Youmans – have worked together to welcome twelve refugee families from eleven different countries into our midst. This opportunity to witness to our faith and act on our convictions has been a deeply meaningful experience.

Today, Nassau members are continuing this important ministry by preparing to welcome a family from Afghanistan. The New York Times recently reported that 11,000 people who fled from Afghanistan as it fell to the Taliban are being temporarily housed in tents at Fort Dix. All of them are awaiting resettlement to towns across our country as their health and security screenings are completed and they become fully vaccinated.

Church World Service is one of the organizations that is working to assist in this Afghan Placement and Assistance process, and we are once again partnering with them as a community resettlement sponsor. We have just been informed by them that they have identified a family that is a good match for us, and we have agreed to sponsor them. We expect to welcome them into our community on or about January 5th.  The family is larger than those we have hosted in the past, with six children — ages 11, 17, 19, 21, 22 and 23 — so our tasks in welcoming and supporting their resettlement will be somewhat different than before, including helping the older children to find appropriate educational and work opportunities. We are very excited to begin this work.

If you have been involved in one of Nassau’s previous resettlements, you know that it takes many, many volunteers and lots of generous support for the effort to be successful. A network of volunteers from across our congregation has begun making these preparations. This group has already found appropriate housing and furnished it with donated furniture. We are grateful to Princeton Theological Seminary for its support for this housing, and we thank everyone who has already volunteered in this effort and to hose of you who have already generously provided housewares, furniture, and other items.

The Nassau Generations newsletter on Friday, December 31, contained a link (also found below) to a “SignUp Genius” list for additional donations to meet the needs of this large family. As we find out more about their specific needs, we will continue to add items to that list. We thank everyone who has already responded to help us welcome this family. Monetary donations can be made using the “Give Online” link below by choosing the “Refugee resettlement” fund.


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One important note about this resettlement – it is vital that we respect the privacy of the family and the confidentiality of their arrangements, given the circumstances of the Afghan resettlement. Unfortunately, there is a very real risk that politics and fear could threaten the security of the family as they seek to begin a new life in our community. We all need to commit to do everything we can to keep them safe by protecting their privacy. This includes information about their individual names, as well as their address and living arrangements.

We are very likely to need your help and support over the coming weeks and months in several areas, such as clothing, transportation and food. These needs will be communicated through Nassau Generations and listed on the SignUp Genius.

Please join us in prayerfully considering how you can join in this important resettlement ministry.

Thank you.

The Refugee Resettlement Team

#MissionMonday – Refugee Resettlement

Partnering with the Jewish Center Refugee Group

The Mission & Outreach Committee has partnered with the Jewish Center Refugee Group to support the resettlement of a new family in our area. A grant will assist the two adults in their medical licensing exams to transfer their work as physicians to the United States. A thoughtful Nassau member also provided a bike for the child. Please pray for all new neighbors in our area.

Follow #MissionMonday on our social media platforms to hear about how, with your help, Nassau Presbyterian Church is supporting others in our town, our state, and across the world.

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