Jesus says, “I was a stranger … and you welcomed me.” Such is the work of UMCOR’s Justice for Our Neighbors Ministry. Here is one small portrait of such love in action:
Michael Fombang was 12 years old and orphaned by war in the Democratic Republic of Congo when he fled the country in 2001. He worked on freighters that traveled the world. When one of these docked in the Great Lakes in 2005, Michael was detained by US immigration authorities. He was classified a stowaway and inadmissible to the US except to pursue asylum status.
Michael petitioned for asylum and was placed in foster care in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He quickly learned English and earned a high school diploma. An aspiring doctor, he enrolled at Grand Rapids Community College. But, his immigration status kept him from working or applying for student aid, and medical school seemed a distant dream.
Two years later, Michael’s foster family sought help from JFON. The JFON attorney got the stowaway provision waived on humanitarian grounds, and Michael qualified for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Finally, in 2008, his application was approved and his status adjusted to Legal Permanent Resident.
We have begun a joint an UMCOR JFON partnership with the Western North Carolina Conference. The first clinic is now operating at Matthews United Methodist Church near Charlotte. It is our hope that by the end of 2011, we will also have a clinic operating in the NC Conference. Please pray for this exciting ministry and please consider giving to the Carolinas JFON Peace and Justice Clinic.
You can send your donations to: JFON P & J Clinic, P.O. Box 60053, Charlotte, NC 28260-0053. 100% of your gift to the Peace and Justice Clinic will be used in this specific JFON ministry.
If you would like to support the general church ministry that provides the framework for JFON ministries across our nation, you can give to Justice for Our Neighbors, UMCOR Advance #901285. You can give on-line at: JFON Advance.
Please read more about JFON and subscribe to the JFON newsletter, First Monday, at First Monday.
For many more resources please see our offerings at: Media Center JFON Resources