Abdul and Nasira Sarfaraz and their four boys arrived in Hagerstown a little over a month ago, following a long and arduous journey, mostly on foot from South America, though they originally fled from their devastated home country of Afghanistan. They arrived with little more than the clothes on their backs and one contact, who agreed to sponsor them. Since then the faith and non-profit community in Hagerstown have worked together, offering a warm welcome and many basic needs for this family, demonstrating the love of God to our neighbor.
Coordination of this effort came through Shepherd Pratt Homeless Outreach and the kind-hearted Cindi Messersmith, HARC, and members of Trinity Lutheran Church, who spent the last year helping another Afghan family get settled here, followed by St. John’s Episcopal Church and other individuals. With outreach to the faith community and help from other community organizations, the Sarfaraz family went from 6 people living in one room of their sponsor’s house to a small house on their own with much of the furniture, housewares and supplies they need. Special thanks goes to Sleep in Heavenly Peace for providing beds for all four children, along with sheets, blankets and pillows for each. Thanks to many members of the community for dropping of furniture and supplies, food, and gift cards for food.
“A world thank you,” said Abdul Sarfaraz in a text, using Google translate. Though the family doesn’t speak much English yet, all of the children and the parents know how to say “Thank you” and are so very appreciative of the help. The children are now in school and Abdul and Nasira are working toward asylum. They are legally not allowed to work yet, so ongoing support of this family is needed while they work through the legal process. We pray they will continue to feel welcome and loved in our community.
This week two more Afghan families came forward for help, so the need continues and HARC would like to start a Refugee Welcome Team for Washington County. If you can help on the team or with any needs for these three families, please contact Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-842-4272.