#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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