Twelve Migros students got to experience a week-long summer youth camp in Michigan in June. Eagle Church in Whitestown, IN provided camp scholarships for the Migros students and welcomed them into the church’s annual spiritual retreat for its middle and high school students. Migros Aid provided sleeping bags and spending money for the students to experience numerous recreational activities.
About 130 total students were at the youth camp. The Migros students formed new friendships and embraced many first-time experiences, such as horseback riding, archery, tubing, and a zip line, which challenged them and boosted their self confidence.
Twin sisters Mon Htaw and Mon Sorn were living as refugees in Thailand when their 7-year-old brother died from malaria because of a lack of health care. “He died in my parent’s arms,” Mon Sorn said.
They are from the Mon people, a Buddhist ethnic group, that today is scattered throughout the world and has experienced generations of oppression and injustice. There are about 1.3 million MON people around the world.
“That was the moment my father decided to get my sister, younger brother and me to America for a better future.”
The mission of Migros Aid says, “To create belonging among immigrants and refugees by facilitating transformative relationships through holistic mentoring.”
Migros Mentors serve in so many numerous ways. Some meet with a family or an individual on a regular basis. Some mentor a small group of teens in a weekly CARE group. Others help with needs as they arise, always helping find the best solution for needs. In May alone, 21 mentors gave 179 hours assisting 101 refugees in the community. Here are a few stories (but not all of them) of what Migros Mentors have been doing in recent months in 2021…
It is our belief that mentoring leads naturally to friendship. We all need friends to navigate through life and form connection and community. It is a foundational need for any human, no matter what language is spoken or religious background. This can be challenging for refugees who come to America due to language and cultural differences. Mohamad and Nisreen arrived in America in 2016 and got involved with Migros Aid before we even incorporated as an organization in 2017. They attended our weekly English Club and our weekly tutoring program called ‘Homework club”. Soon after they arrived, They have been active in our community garden for the two years we have had it. Tom and Wendy Langebartels became Migros Mentors to them in late 2016. Their families have become close friends and like family to each other sharing so many times together. Tom and Wendy have helped them learn English, find work, teach them how to drive, help them find a car to buy, navigate green card issues, apply and get accepted into a Habitat home and so many other things to list. Most importantly, they have been faithful friends. Tom and Wendy have put their Christian faith into action.
As Tom says, “Jesus said, ‘I was a stranger and you invited me in.’ We met Mohamad and Nisreen and tried to do just that and our lives have been changed because of the friendship we have developed with them.”
A Migros Mentor is someone who becomes a friend and may not be able to solve every problem or assist with every need but will be present in support and friendship along the way. Please contact us if you want to become a Migros Mentor to a refugee family.
MORE OF MOHAMMAD AND NISREEN’S STORY & BACKGROUND…
This is our third year for the Migros Aid garden. Each year it has grown and expanded, impacting more people.
We have had a couple of work days this year and plan to have more before planting in early May. We will employe 6-8 young people to work in the garden this summer and exploring ways to participate in a local farmers market.
In 2020, we grew 940 pounds of produce for the community. We hope that in 2021 we can increase this to help provide food to more people.
Thank you to all of the volunteers and the Migros Aid board for giving input and suggestions on our revised mission and vision statements. We have been in a process of collecting input this year from our team to communicate what we are about. As every organization evolves and grows, it is always crucial to adapt and update the mission, vision, and core values. We believe this will help guide our efforts into the future and increase our ability to share our mission and vision with a wider audience to be able to have a greater capacity of impact.
Our mission is to create belonging among immigrants and refugees by facilitating transformative relationships through holistic mentoring.
Our vision is to promote a welcoming community of hospitality that creates human flourishing, self-sufficiency, and transformation – while reducing isolation and fear.
The Christmas season was a challenge to many refugee families during a global pandemic. Thanks to Eagle Church for their help in putting together 60+ gift baskets. The baskets included practical items such as laundry detergent, socks, tooth brushes, soap, tooth paste, etc.
The gifts were practical and helpful for families. This outreach provided a practical way to show God’s love in action and remind people of the meaning of Christmas.
Throughout this year of a global pandemic, many have struggled to stay employed and pay rent- facing the real possibility of eviction. The immigrant, refugee communities comprise nearly 10% of the population of Marion County. So many in this population do not have other family members nearby or support systems like other Hoosiers.
Migros Aid, Inc. works with refugees throughout the city and has been serving a Muslim family who fled Syria and who have been in America since 2017. Their family of 7 live in a 3-bedroom apartment and nearly faced eviction due to COVID-19 and not being able to work in December.
Through the generosity of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis, St. George’s Orthodox Christian Church, one individual, and Migros Aid, their December rent was paid. and help with their utility bills was provided.
When the body of Christ comes together to help and serve the least of these in our community, it is a beautiful thing and displays to the world what the church is all about.