A True Spirit of Welcome: Summer Camp Partners with LIRS to Resettle Refugee Family

Rebuilding Hope, November 2012 edition
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It’s only through the faithful support of many friends like you that refugee families can continue to be helped this holiday season. Thank you!

As we enter the holiday season, we will undoubtedly all be focused on Christmas preparations, decorating our homes, and making plans to gather with family and friends for meals and celebrations. And while this season is a joyous time for most, it is often a time of heartache for refugee families separated from their loved ones.

For many refugee families living in temporary camps and harsh conditions, the event that would bring them most joy is the opportunity to resettle in the U.S. to start a new life in a new home with a new hope for the future. That’s why your prayers and support to help LIRS resettle refugee families are so important.

The desire to help refugee families is no better displayed than through the recent support for LIRS by Cross Trails Ministry, an outdoor ministry of the Southwestern Texas Synod of the ELCA.

Every year Cross Trails runs a summer camp for more than 2,000 kids at their campsites near San Antonio, where the young people make new friends, grow in faith, and have the time of their lives. And each year Cross Trails chooses a different ministry organization to donate the camps’ entire summer offering to. This year, in keeping with their camp theme of the Exodus story, they chose LIRS as the beneficiary!

Cross Trails set a goal for their kids to raise enough funds to help a refugee family travel to the U.S. for resettlement, and worked with the LIRS travel loans department to determine a giving goal of $4,154 – or only $2.50 per camper.

LIRS then provided educational materials for the camps, as well as a refugee simulation game to teach the kids about the reality of life as a refugee. Parents of campers were also informed before the camps that the camp offering would be used to help resettle a refugee family.

During the camp sessions many of the young people were encouraged to see the difference they could make for a refugee family. And by the end of the summer close to $6,000 had been given by the campers!

The best news is that through the offering from Cross Trails campers – along with the support of friends like you – LIRS in partnership with Refugee Services of Texas was able to resettle the Endolecha family from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In 1996 the Endolecha family made the difficult decision to leave their hometown in the Democratic Republic of Congo to try to find safety from the persecution they faced. They made their way to Tanzania where they were immediately placed into a refugee camp. For 16 years the Endolechas waited and hoped that one day their family would be approved to start a new life.

In May the Endolechas were finally approved to make their way to America. Now in their new home, Mr. Endolecha works hard to support his wife and seven children. The family is very happy to finally be in the United States where they have the opportunity to work and their children can attend school.

Through the simple giving of the campers, the Endolecha family has been given new hope for the future as they begin their lives in the U.S. And it’s only through the faithful support of many friends like you that other refugee families just like the Endolechas can continue to be helped this holiday season. So thank you for your faithful prayers and generous support, which make this mission of welcome possible!

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