The news is so full of noise about immigrants, refugees, problems, crises, it is often hard to discern what is important. But here in Ardmore we are helping the real people behind all this noise.
Inspired by Struge Poorman, First Place is our way to act on Christ’s charge to “welcome the stranger” “disciple all nations” and help, “the least of these, Christ’s brothers and sisters “.
It has been remarkably successful. In the two years since it has been open, First Place has provided temporary housing for 43 individuals or family groups. We have touched Refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Egypt, Ecuador, Guatemala, Uganda, the Congo, and Bhutan. After severe restrictions on refugees, our home has acted as a refuge for those legally seeking asylum. Recent occupants have included Nehad, an Egyptian woman and her children fleeing persecution because they are Christian, and Assiata fleeing Guinea in fear of genital mutilation for her two little girls.
We currently are home to Ronnie, a young man from Uganda.
Through our many partners and volunteers, Ardmore Presbyterian Church has become known for our work with immigrants. Volunteers who meet these residents find them engaging and the experience so rewarding, they frequently stay in touch long after the refugees have found more permanent housing. A family in Wayne has invited Arman, a teenager who escaped the Taliban, to live with them. He is now a student at Radnor High School. The challenges of keeping first place fulfilling this mission are daunting, but God’s work continues and his love is being experienced and shared here in Ardmore.