Opportunity in West Chicagoland

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I picked up our sign from World Relief DuPage this past week. If you want one of your own, see #2 below.

I’ve written a couple posts in the last month about DuPage/Aurora World Relief’s budget challenges that provided opportunities for letter writing and donation, but if you’re local, I have three other opportunities for you.

I recently received an email from Jamie, the volunteer services manager at World Relief DuPage/Aurora. She highlighted several possibilities for involvement:

  1. Volunteering: “Do you love working with kids between the ages of 3 months and 5 years old? We need dedicated volunteers for our Early Childhood Program who would be willing to come alongside our teachers and provide support for kids who are adjusting to life in the U.S. and learning English. Our program has 3 different classes: 3-18 months, 18 months-2 years, 3-5 years. The classes meet in two sessions: a Monday/Thursday and Tuesday/Friday. We are looking for volunteers who can help at least once a week from 9 a.m. -11:30 a.m. (If you could help twice a week-M/Th or T/Fr-that would be wonderful, but any help is greatly appreciated.) Classes start on 1/25 and run through 5/27 with breaks for holidays and spring break. If you’re interested, please contact me (Jen) at jenunderwood0629@gmail.com, and I’ll direct you to the volunteer coordinators at the Wheaton or Aurora offices.
  2. Advocacy: Post a “We are not afraid” sign in your yard. This includes the address of a website where people can find accurate information regarding refugees and the resettlement process as a whole in the U.S. These signs can be picked up at WR’s Wheaton (1825 College Ave, Suite 230) and Aurora (73 S. LaSalle Street) offices.
  3. Put together a good neighbor kit for a refugee family settling in your area. Email me at jenunderwood0629@gmail.com for the list of items and the contact info of the New Arrivals Volunteer Coordinator.

Lastly, I’m including a prayer for refugees that we’ve been praying at my church. I’m including it here:

Lord Jesus Christ our Refuge and Deliverer, as a child you sought refuge in Egypt while fleeing from those who would persecute and harm you. Remember those today who must flee in the same manner, who find themselves in foreign and strange lands, granting them your Presence, your protection, and your provision. Illuminate us to be a shining light upon a hill amidst the dark evil in our world, that we may do our part with hospitality and resources; and that all who are refugees might be led to the brightness of Your redemptive love made present by your glorious Incarnation; You, who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

 

The good work of refugee care

World Relief poster“(God) creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” Ephesian 2:9, The Message

I believe with all my heart that refugee care is good work. A few weeks ago I posted the news that the ESL classes at my local World Relief (WR) office are in jeopardy because they have not received federal funding. Last Tuesday I sat in a meeting with other WR volunteers and listened as the ESL director outlined a plan that will provide as many refugees and immigrants with regular classes while still cutting costs (and staff) dramatically. Despite the great stress she was under, Sue smiled at us and reminded us that God is at work. He will provide. He so clearly cares for the poor, the orphan, the widow, the oppressed, and the foreigner. She said something like this: The decreased government funding gives the church a chance to step up and in with their money and their time. It pushes us to be more generous and creative.

Hear, Hear!

poster backAt the bottom of this post, I have links to both the national and local (western suburbs of Chicago) World Relief websites as well as specific ways to support WR DuPage/Aurora.

But before I get to that, I have links to four articles: the first three specifically related to refugees, the third about cultivating a generous heart toward all those in need.

The first is a Q&A with World Relief DuPage’s Executive Director Emily Gray. PLEASE read this article. Emily is informed and wise and above all, seeking to be likeminded with Christ.

5 Objects to Fuel Your Prayers,” is a great article about concrete ways to remember those in need. It’s specifically about refugees, but you could use the same techniques to remind you to pray for the poor, the persecuted church, victims of sex trafficking, those suffering from mental illness, orphans, etc.)

WR fundraisingGrowing in generosity with the Believing Poor” is by Elizabeth Drury. It challenges our views of generosity that do not extend past our wallets, that don’t impact our comfort levels.

What Refugees in Your Neighborhood Need from You” gives a bit of an inside look at how difficult it is to be uprooted and transplanted (often several times) and how the body of Christ can step into that difficulty.

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For those outside Chicago’s western suburbs: visit the international home page of World Relief and click on the “Get Involved” tab to see if WR has a location in your area.

For those IN Chicago’s western suburbs: The ESL arm of WR DuPage needs volunteers. If you have some morning hours free beginning in January or would like to tutor a refugee one-on-one, email me at jenunderwood0629@gmail.com and I can get you connected with the volunteer coordinator. You don’t need any experience or qualifications other than the ability to speak English, and it is truly a blessing.

If you’ll take a look at the poster I have pictured above, you’ll find information about items needed for Good Neighbor kits. The back side (with items needed) is the second picture. One of WR’s dropoff locations is at K’Tizo–my favorite tea/coffee shop. You can drop off items and get a yummy drink!

The third picture (sorry it’s so small) is a “Quick Guide to Fundraising for World Relief DuPage/Aurora.” If you live in another location but have a WR nearby, I’m sure you could use all the same techniques to fundraise for your area location.