FirstLife Blog

A Christmas Letter from the Wyatts

Posted by Marc & Kim Wyatt on

Merry Christmas Dear Friends,               

As we pause and give thanks for God’s blessings we send you our heartfelt gratitude for your prayers and encouragement this year. Your faithfulness continues to sustain this ministry of welcome and hospitality toward strangers, who have become neighbors and friends. We anticipate the seeds that have been planted are being watered and will produce fruit of praise and glory to God our heavenly Father.

As the year began drastic government policy changes brought with them significant changes to our ministry. As the Spirit gave guidance our efforts shifted from overwhelming numbers of people served to ever-deepening relationships with our international neighbors, their communities and an increase in advocacy on their behalf.

Our Year At a Glance

Immigrants and Refugees from 10 nations – Ministries of English as a Second Language and Housing touched the lives of new friends and families from Afghanistan, Burma, Burundi, Congo, Eritrea, Iraq, Mexico, Pakistan, Somalia, and Syria.

Welcome House Raleigh – Thanks to a partnership with Crabtree Valley Baptist Church, Charles Allard, Pastor and many volunteers from partner churches Welcome House Raleigh opened a three bedroom two bath house in September. The first guests of WHR were a family of four from Iraq.

Hope House Durham – Partnership of eleven churches and organizations saw the opening of a west Triangle temporary housing ministry hosted by Hope Valley Baptist Church, Bill Bigger, Pastor. Working closely with World Relief Durham, the ministry provided housing for a single refugee mother and her two teenage children. The family was welcomed rent-free while the mother recovered from a life-threatening illness.

Welcome House Winston – Eight churches in the Winston-Salem area forged a ministry partnership thanks to CBFNC, Linda Jones, Missions Coordinator to open a two bedroom apartment in November. The first guests of WHW are two asylum seeker moms and their infants.

Pop up WH Community Apartment – We were forced to close a Welcome House in a North Raleigh apartment complex in February. The apartment served as an emergency housing program with the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, NC Field Office. Because USCRI held the lease they decided to end the program due to a lack of numbers of arriving refugee families. From October 2015 to February 2017, 146 refugees lived from one to 6 weeks at WH. Following a period of discernment, we signed a lease on a new apartment in a South Raleigh neighborhood. The ministry partnership included volunteers from area churches, USCRI, Lutheran Services of the Carolinas and UNC Refugee Wellness. ESL, after-school tutoring, mental health, recreation, and backyard Bible Clubs were shared with the community of nations. We were blessed to include Chris West a Campbell University Graduate as our Student.Church Intern. We see God’s hand on Chris in many ways. One is that he became the Youth Director of Hope Valley Baptist Church immediately following the internship with us.

CBF Church Start and Starters – Felix and Nicole Iyoko were commissioned in Atlanta during the CBF General Assembly. The Iyoko’s former refugees from Congo serve as Co-Pastors of Shiloh Restoration Church, Raleigh. They have 6 children. November 12th marked the church’s first anniversary. It all began in their two bedroom apartment in a North Raleigh neighborhood and quickly grew to over 100 worshippers the first Sunday they met at St. Phillip Lutheran Church. Felix’ story can be seen on the link below.

CBF Advocacy Team – CBF Advocacy established its first-ever Advocacy Action Team to educate, encourage and equip effective advocacy with immigrant and refugee communities. As members, our team cultivates a network of active advocates, provide useful up-to-date resources, and encourage direct policy advocacy at critical moments. To learn more about our new efforts visit http://www.cbf.net/immigration-refugee/

Four OGM Videos – As part of the 2017/18 Offering for Global Missions Emphasis the following four videos of our ministry were included:

https://vimeo.com/222865997    Thomas and Nu Nu

https://vimeo.com/222863247    Jay

https://vimeo.com/222858857    Felix

https://vimeo.com/222854065    Welcoming one Refugee Home

Embracing Our Neighbor 30 Days of Prayer for Internationals Guide – Thanks to combined efforts of our mission teammates, Internationals North America, a prayer guide was published. The guide features stories, engagement suggestions and resources from our North American colleagues. If you would like a free copy let us know.

I can learn about Refugee Children’s Activity Book – Rachel Hill, wife of Gavin who serves as Pastor of FBC Forest City asked us if in the future we would consider publishing a prayer guide for children. Thanks to collaboration of Silva DeLoach, Elisabeth DeLoach Howell and CBF Communications the new children’s advocacy resource is now a reality. The activity book will be available online in December. If you would like a free copy please let us know.

From our family to yours we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Peace and joy,

Kim and Marc Wyatt

www.cbf.net/wyatt-give

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