When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. – Leviticus 19:33–34
After months of hard work, the Refugee Ministry Task Force has welcomed Layla, a 28 year old Somali refugee, who arrived at SeaTac airport from a refugee camp in Kenya, where she had lived for several years. Layla is spending her first full day in Olympia connecting with the government agencies which allow her to come to the US and begin a new life here. Layla, who speaks a little English, has already made friends with her host family, Dirk and Dixie, members of the Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation, and with staff at Lutheran Community Services of the Northwest in Tacoma (the regional non-profit that works with the federal government on refugee resettlement). The task force is excited at the interdenominational and interfaith support we’ve been receiving as we seek to help Thurston County welcome refugees to our communities. We will post more when we have more information to share!
As a church family, we will be assisting Layla as she looks for permanent housing, a job, enrolls in ESL classes and acclimates to life here in the Pacific Northwest.
First Church sponsored southeast Asian refugees after the Viet Nam war, and European refugees after the Second World War. Layla’s arrival continues a long tradition of opening our hearts and lives to refugees.