Tami and Randy Arrowood of Atlanta were horrified at the pictures of Kosovar refugees on their television screen one March evening. As they en joyed dinner in their new three-bedroom home, Tami, 23, says, "It hit us. These people can't change the channel."
As aid agencies continue sending relief supplies to the more than 750,000 Kosovars in makeshift camps in Macedonia and Albania, some American Christians, including the Arrowoods, are providing temporary housing for the anticipated 20,000 refugees coming to the United States.
Through an Internet search, the Arrowoods volunteered with World Relief, which they discovered is resettling 2,000 refugees. The agency is one of ten selected by the U.S. Department of State to facilitate the Kosovar refugee resettlement. Others include Church World Service, Episcopal Migration Min is tries, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and the U.S. Catholic Conference. In many cases, the groups are relying on churches to help provide temporary housing, furniture, clothing, language training, and money for rent.
Jim Donovan, pastor of the 1,000-member Southwest Christian Church where the Arrowoods attend, says, "It looks to me like the Lord is bringing the mission field to us." He hopes the Arrowoods' guest family—who most likely will be Muslim—will feel welcome in the church. But he knows there will be language and cultural barriers to communicating the gospel. "We'll just have to demonstrate it," Donovan says.
Priority is being given to reunite refugees with relatives. The Boston-based Albanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America helped create a bilingual Web-based clearinghouse for refugees searching for family members (www.web-depot.com/ kosovo/). The site currently lists more ...1
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