All around us, there are many reasons to give thanks.  At World Relief DuPage/ Aurora [WRDA] we are filled with gratitude—for freedom and safety, for God’s provision, and for the opportunity to witness lives transformed! Through the collective efforts of our staff, volunteers and donors, we have resettled over 500 refugees and served some 4,200 immigrant clients this year. Not only are we grateful for the opportunity to stand with the world’s most vulnerable, but also for the privilege of seeing hope renewed.

From Silence to Sound
Because hearing loss disproportionally affects many Bhutanese refugees, WRDA developed a medical case management program.  When Bhutanese refugees, Nan and Dhal Ghorsai, arrived in the U.S. early this year, they were functionally deaf.  However, a partnership between the WRDA medical case management program and a local audiologist resulted in hearing aids for the couple. Now, Nan and Dhal no longer struggle to read lips, can hear the sound of their children’s voices and are learning to speak English.

From Flight to a Home
Refugees, by definition, are not from communities or countries that celebrate their contributions to society.   After fleeing from their home in the Congo and living in four different refugee camps, Pierre and Virginie Lokombe arrived in Aurora in 2010 with their four sons. Immediately, the family felt welcomed and began to invest back into the community.  Today, Pierre is a student at Waubonsee Community College, and the family, through the Individual Development Account program, is in the process of purchasing their first home in Aurora. 

From Alien to Citizen
Last April, Maria Flores attended our Citizenship Workshop, but was unable to complete the application process due to residency guidelines.  However, despite some personal and financial struggles, Maria continued to pursue citizenship and not only took the oath of alliance in October, but following the oath ceremony, registered to vote for the first time.

Finally, we are thankful for you—the community and friends who graciously welcome strangers and invest in the transformation process.   In fact, your hospitality is evident in two community events focused on celebrating refugees and immigrants.

The Aurora Historical Society (AHS)
In November, AHS hosted an exhibit on the people groups that make up Aurora.  The goal was to highlight recent immigrant groups and their contributions, which includes WRDA clients.  

There’s Room at the Table
Uniting America will host the opening of a local photo documentary project, There’s Room at the Table, which is a collaborative effort between Wheaton College, Uniting America, and World Relief DuPage/Aurora. The project highlights the daily life of refugees, immigrants and the native-born population of Wheaton and Glen Ellyn.  The exhibit opens on December 9 at 1 p.m. at the Gary United Methodist Church in Wheaton, and runs through December 16.  Hours are Sunday from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and Wednesday 5:30-7 p.m.