Local Organizations Prepare For Afghan Refugees' Arrival

Monday, October 4th 2021, 6:53 pm
By: Ashley Holden

Several Afghan refugees now call Oklahoma home, as the state is preparing for around 1,800.

Henderson Hills Baptist Church Pastor Mike Wall and his congregation are preparing to help dozens of refugees.

Wall and his family were praying for some people they knew as they tried to make it from Afghanistan to America.

"It was really difficult to watch as everything was unfolding," said Wall.

He watched like many others as Afghans tried to make it to the airport and out of Afghanistan in August.

"When you do know people, you of course are worried about what's happening and you are just praying for them," said Wall.

Today he's feeling grateful his friends are now out and at their second stop.

"We're very happy that they are in Germany and safe there," said Wall. "We are excited for them to be taken care of and going through the proper process to come to America."

The process is detailed, according to Catholic Charities, an organization helping Afghan refugees coming to the U.S.

As refugees arrive at specific military bases or "safe havens" they will go through medical screenings, receive vaccinations, have background checks and fill out employment documentation.

Wall said his friends are anxious.

"Having to totally remove and uproot everything they know and come to a new place and honestly it's not their desire they would rather be at home," said Wall.

Catholic Charities told News 9 the pace of refugees arriving in the state has picked up over the last few days.

"As of right now Henderson will be helping 18 possibly 21 more," said Wall.

Churches like Henderson Hills will help sponsor the refugees as they resettle, a process Wall said could take six months to even a year.

"When you dive into something like this it's long term, but what's amazing about that you really get to develop relationships," said Wall.

Wall said refugees will have so many needs. He recommends people reach out to their church first to see if they are helping.

"If you are looking for people to hire, if you teach English, if you like teaching kids there's so many ways to help during this time," said Wall.

If you’d like to help those in need, visit the Catholic Charities and Henderson Hills websites.