Written by Courtney Roberts on December 9, 2022.
Love your neighbor as yourself and make disciples of all nations: two of Jesus’ commands that are at the heart of Immigrant Connection, a ministry recently begun by Carrie Afanador. By meeting the unique needs of immigrants, refugees, and other displaced people in our own community, Immigrant Connection creates opportunities to share the love of God across cultural divides.
Language and legal barriers constitute two of the greatest challenges faced by immigrants to the U.S. These issues are the focus of Immigrant Connection, which seeks to offer English-learning support and legal consultation to immigrants in the High Country. Carrie, whose professional background is in education, became aware of the lack of accredited legal aid locally available to individuals seeking to move forward in the immigration/naturalization process, with no options nearer than Charlotte. In addition, the average cost of legal services is significantly more than many can afford. In response to this issue, Carrie undertook the coursework to become a Department of Justice Accredited Representative, equipping her to offer high-quality, low-cost legal consultation and assistance throughout the immigration process. Interested individuals can call or email Carrie for a consultation in either English or Spanish (below).
In addition to legal aid, Immigrant Connection offers free ESL classes to the community. Co-led by Amy Todd-Paine, the program pairs English-learners of all ages with volunteers from Alliance for weekly language practice. Meeting Wednesday nights at Alliance, the classes not only provide space for learners to hone their language skills, but also to build relationships with other community members and to learn about God and His Word. Carrie, Amy, and their team of volunteers have already been blessed to see doors opened for the gospel through the lessons and conversations taking place each week, and are eager to see Him continue working through these classes.
Carrie’s long-term vision for Immigrant Connection is for it to grow into a self-sustaining program, able to minister holistically to immigrants in our community as they adapt to a new environment and put down roots in the High Country. She hopes to one day be able to help immigrants navigate the healthcare system as well, and even establish extension sites in nearby communities to increase the reach of the program. Meeting the practical needs of our immigrant neighbors can be a powerful means of demonstrating God’s love, and this is the ultimate mission of Immigrant Connection. Please join Carrie in praying “. . .that God will use our work to bring hope to immigrants. That immigrants will know that they are created in the image of God and welcome in our church community.”
There are opportunities for volunteers in both arms of the ministry, including language assistance in the ESL classes, and a variety of administrative tasks assisting Carrie in her legal work. Donations are also welcome. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. or call 828-278-9302.