FIRST HAND ACCOUNTS FROM TEAM MEMBERS AND ASYLUM SEEKERS
My experience with hosting Dante began when a couple of friends and I attended a meeting to learn about a new organization that was going to start helping match asylum seekers with host families. We all said yes, and joined a number of other individuals who we had never met before but all had the same desire to serve. Within a week, we got an email from a volunteer at Casa De Paz that a man was released from detention, and did not know a single person in the United States.
It has been just over a year, and things could not be better. Dante is such an integral part of our family, and our kids absolutely adore him. He wife and son are frequently videoed in on special occasions, which has been so incredible to watch the ways they stay connected and devoted to each other despite being so far apart. Dante is incredibly humble, and watching his faith in action has increased my relationship with my own faith. From praying every morning to steadily serving anybody he comes in contact with; I am in awe at how a person can go through so much and still hold kindness and holiness so close to his heart.
Some of my favorite memories are when we got comfortable enough to laugh at the things Google translated while we were trying to communicate. Dante was tending to the garden, and tried to say that the weight of the tomatoes was getting too much and they needed support. It translated to something about the big ladies needing somebody to care for them in their heftiness! Or, on the first night of the lockdown when we brought home a tiny puppy at 2:00 AM. Dante came up and thought it was hilarious! He really does put up with a lot of our family’s crazy antics:)
On a deeper level, when my young teenage son started having some depression at the start of lockdown, Dante was incredibly intune with him. I see the ways he cares, and often gives him heartfelt messages about maintaining a godly and kind heart free from anger. He took my son birthday shopping, and said a special prayer at dinner for him. My son has been impacted in ways that will surely stay with him throughout his lifetime, and I will never be able to repay Dante. Truly, we have been blessed.
CHAN HOST FAMILY
My husband and I connected with CHAN to do more for Asylum Seekers, but from home. With two small children at home and both of us working, we had to assess what kind of opportunity we could commit to. We knew we could offer an extra room, a stable envirnment and lots of love. Choosing to host turned out to be one of the most enriching life decisions we could’ve made.
Selena had travelled a perilous journey through the 12 boarders and the Darian Gap to flee persecution in her home country. When she came to live with us, she was in the late stages of pregnancy and separated from any loved ones. I was honored when she asked me to support her during labor and it truly bonded us together. She gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby and our community rallied around her to supply everything they needed. Having them both apart of our lives was genuinely transformational. She loved our young children as her own, we cooked together, had many laughs, deep conversations, and we all shared the baby snuggles! With the launch pad they needed, Selena and baby moved on from our home a few months later. We keep in touch regularly and miss them so much. We will forever be family.
- The Eriksons
CHAN HOST FAMILY
*Some names may been changed to protect anonymity