Sometimes it takes a village…or in this case, an Embrace group. When KIN was notified that a family from Afghanistan would arrive at the Knoxville airport within a week, a call for an Embrace group went out to our church partners. Immediately, the Mission Director at Shoreline Church responded enthusiastically, “We’re in!!”
Although there were steps to be completed such as applications, background checks, and training, the group of nearly 20 quickly and eagerly did what was needed to be paired with the family of eight. “I was initially apprehensive; but once we met the family, I realized they weren’t much different than us and simply needed friends to guide them on integrating into Knoxville,” stated one Embrace member.
Directly after the group completed KIN’s Embrace training and met the family, two of the Afghan girls expressed an interest in attending a concert at a local middle school the next evening. Two college girls from the group eagerly offered to pick them up and go with them. They happily described their first interaction: “They (Afghan girls) will remember the night just as much as we will remember what a sweet and fun time it was to be with them. We left so giddy and thankful that they allowed us to be a part of their night!”
One of the young adult men in the family played soccer for the Afghanistan National Football Team and desired to get back into the sport, possibly making a career out of soccer in his new home country. One of the Embrace members knew a church member with connections to One Knox, a professional soccer club. Introductions were made, and within a couple of weeks, the young player had new cleats and is now in training to potentially reach his goal.
One of the other Afghan men was a certified doctor in Kabul. As God would have it, one of the Embrace members is a physician. He eagerly offered to build a relationship, teach English to this young man, and is investigating steps toward eventually getting the young doctor back into medicine.
Other ways the Embrace group works with the Afghan family:
“Word is spreading in our church about our journey with this family,” commented the Mission Director. “Many who hear our stories ask how they can help. This experience has opened the minds of many in our group AND our church. It's created an eagerness to engage and minister to other internationals in Knoxville.”
Read the stories of Knoxville's local internationals and the volunteers who have impacted their lives. Get a first-hand view of what it's like to move here and/or to serve those who've moved here from other countries. Discover how KIN has impacted life and culture in metro Knoxville.