January 20, 2023

“If you were in our country, everything would be different for you.” A gentleman in our office pointed this out to us, asking us to consider what it might be like if we were in their shoes. 

Even beyond language, everything is different. We, in another country, would be forced to measure things in centimeters, weigh things in grams, understand that freezing is actually 0 degrees Celsius. Our driving would be in kilometers, not miles. 

These were just a few of the examples the Ukrainian couple shared with us as they explained some of the challenges of being in America. From Ukraine to Poland to Turkey to Columbia, Missouri. Along the way, a new baby is born. 

And now they wait.

Wait until they get the proper documents so they can work – so they can begin to buy groceries for themselves, buy clothes for their kids, begin to build a real life here. Less than a year ago they were thriving, self-sufficient Ukrainian citizens. Today, because of war, they are displaced, depending solely on the generosity of strangers, and hoping every day that it will be the day they get to take another step forward. 

Every time I meet another family or individual who has had to flee, I have to take a moment to pause. No matter how many stories I hear, their plight is unimaginable. But, before us every day are people who bear testimony to what resilience can truly look like. People from all over the world who have somehow ended up in mid-Missouri. 

And we get to welcome them here. We get to be generous givers, compassionate souls, and hold a trusted place of honor as we listen some of the darkest passages they have had to journey through. We get to learn the beauty of presence, of showing up, of meeting needs – in whatever way we can.

Face to face with real humans who have real needs. 

And so we offer refuge. We offer hope. Sometimes that’s all we have.

Sometimes it comes in the form of toothpaste, sometimes it looks like helping fill out a Medicaid form, and sometimes it’s just making time to listen. 

Thank you for your part in helping accomplish this mission.

Whether your support has come through time spent volunteering, through financial gifts, through in-kind donations, prayers & encouraging words, taking the time to be aware… all of it is significant, all of it plays a critical role. 

You’re standing in the gap with us, offering something that a lot of folks haven’t known in a long while: refuge, hope, love. 

City of Refuge is only what it is today because of this community, and we need you to keep standing with us, ready to welcome more neighbors.

Thank you for being the type of people who pull together, who come near, and who show up. 

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