Refugee and Asylum Families

Latest Update on the Refugee Family being sponsored by Chapel Hill and Bethany Christian Services

  • The family arrived safely in Kalamazoo on Wednesday, February 26!
  • The 6 family members are related to Sodiq (21), who has been through Bethany's youth refugee program, has been in Kalamazoo for 3 years, is fluent in English, and attends KVCC:
    • Mom (late 40’s -50’s)
    • Family friend (70’s)
    • Sodiq’s siblings:  sister (18), brother (16), twin sisters (12)
  • The family mainly speaks Farsi
  • The family briefly lived in Iran, then spent most of their time in Afghanistan, and then have been in Turkey the previous few years.

Ways to Help:

  1. Sign up to lead a sub-group or to do a specific task on the Responsibility Sign-Up Sheet.
  2. Sign up to help with transportation for the family on the Calendar of Transportation & Needs for a specific appointment time/day.
  3. Get more frequent updates and access to related files by getting added to the Refugee Resettlement group on Realm.  Email the office at to get added to the group.
  4. Donate household items. Review this list and see what's left to donate. The big items are still a few dressers and a few single bed frames.
  5. Donate money. Many items, such as mattresses, pillows, and bed sheets must be bought new and not donated. Having money to buy these items and other needs like groceries will help offset their tight income for a few months. Go to and write "Refugee Resettlement" in the box by "Other" or write a check with "Refugee Resettlement" in the memo line.

   6. Pray for the family and all others involved. Pray for their peace and comfort as they settle into a new home, new community, and new country. 

If you have any questions or suggestions, contact:

Susan Smith, Co-Leader of Refugee Resettlement Team:

Pat Catellier, Co-Leader of Refugee Resettlement Team:

Richard Derenne, Chair of Faith In Action Team:


Update on Mother/Son Seeking Asylum

There is great news for the single mother and her 11-year-old son who have fled violence in their home country of El Salvador and are now living in Portage. After arriving in the United States in February of 2019, her application for asylum has been officially submitted with a court date scheduled in July.  At this court date, the application will be reviewed and an asylum hearing date will be set.  Currently, asylum hearings are 2-3 years out, which means the family is essentially guaranteed to stay in the U.S. for at least for that long.

With that said, the single mother still needs financial help in two areas:   (1) Help paying off the loan her family took out to pay for the immigration lawyer and (2) Help with income until a work permit is issued, which will be a few months after her July court date.  Go to her GoFundMe page to donate directly to them.