We received word from our refugee agency partner that two families were coming to Raleigh. A family of three and a family of seven. Together with volunteers from partner churches we sprang into action. Truckloads of lightly used household items were gathered from our storage units. Teams following COVID protocols organized to clean and furnish both apartments. It only took a few hours because everyone was so excited to be receiving the first refugees of 2021 to our community.
Beds were made, dishes were put away, the bathrooms and living rooms were all set up in the spirit of welcoming the stranger as Jesus identifies himself with in Matthew 25:35 ff. We prayed for both families and then locked the apartment doors. And then we got the call. Neither family would be coming. Their flights were cancelled. Cancelled not because of health issues or funding. Not cancelled because the refugee agency wasn’t ready. But cancelled simply because the President hadn’t signed his determination. The Presidential Determination sets the number of people allowed in. Until President Biden signs the PD our two families will not be coming.
We’re ready in Raleigh. We’ve prepared two apartments as if Jesus himself was coming home. Now, the current administration is waiting till May 15 to increase the refugee cap and might now increase it to what they have promised. And so today we ask that you write the President and ask him to sign the Presidential Determination. With the stroke of a pen two refugee families among many others across the country will finally make it home.
-Marc Wyatt, CBF field personnel, Research Triangle, N.C.