Twenty-four people came to the quarterly gathering of the Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) Asylum Network yesterday. They represent churches and local agencies that include asylum seekers within the scope of their work. The Asylum Network was started by Sarah Miller, our MSP Ministry Leader.
When she first came to the Twin Cities, her research identified asylum seekers as an underserved group in the community. As she met with different people involved in some sort of assistance to asylum seekers, she found that they weren't all connected with each other. Everyone was serving in isolation. So she launched the Asylum Network. It's been going strong for a couple of years now.
This week, the Center for Victims of Torture (an international humanitarian agency based in the Cities) gave a presentation on trauma awareness. Sarah later wrote...
"During the discussion time at the end, a Rwanda asylum seeker, Emmanual, shared how his experience resonated with what was shared. He is an incredibly articulate young man. Before the day ended yesterday, I received this email from him:
Subject: Thank you for your commitment to our cause.
Hi Sarah, I am so glad to have met you. Thank you so much for your choice to dedicate yourself to the cause of refugees. Thank you deeply for creating a space for asylum seekers. It is terrible to fall in a category that has zero eligibility in the nation’s social protection. Thank you. This is just a note of thanks, I would like to meet you any time soon you can be available. I hope you live in Minnesota.
With many thanks, Emmanuel "
Sarah was quick to pass this encouragement along to the IAFR team noting:
"I'm so encouraged by this! What we do matters!"