Yesterday, I stood outside Crabtree Valley Church in the fog and humidity with members of the Welcome House Network “Dream Team”. We were there to welcome CBFNC Executive Director, Larry Hovis, and his cycling group at the finish line. Larry and his team started a 240-mile trek to Raleigh from the Blue Ridge Parkway. All along the way they have been sharing the story of Welcome House and raising monies to start new Welcome Houses all across our state.
Welcome House Network seeks to extend Christian hospitality in the form of temporary housing and community outreach to vulnerable people in every NC city and town. Raleigh’s Welcome House has been the beginning of a new life in a new country for hundreds of refugees. Providing a space to acclimate and rest before moving on to permanent housing. It’s a hospitality ministry that absolutely changes lives.
As the riders approached, there were cheers and shouts of joy. We listened as Larry described their journey. It was not an easy ride. On top of the distance (which is difficult in and of itself), there were flat tires and broken gears. There was the wind and rain from Hurricane Delta. There were crashes and injuries. The journey was difficult but worth it. Because of the commitment and perseverance of this team, more churches will establish Welcome Houses. People who need rest and shelter will find it all across our state. Hearts and lives will be changed. To date, this ride raised over $16,000 which has far exceeded its initial goal of $10,000. Worth it but arduous.
As big as they were, the tribulations of this bike ride pale in comparison to the journey that the guests of Welcome House have traveled. Our new neighbors aren’t relocating to Raleigh for better opportunities; they are fleeing their countries of origin. They have endured war, death, hunger, exhaustion, violence, and loss. Most have lived in UN refugee camps for over 20 years. What a profound privilege to be able to provide a clean bed, a hot shower, a warm meal, and a bit of support as these families begin again.
Greystone, you can be proud of your commitment to Welcome House Raleigh. Jesus did not say the journey would be easy, but he did promise that we would not be alone. So consider how you might reach out and extend hospitality to a neighbor in need this week. And it’s not too late!
- You can support this fundraiser by contributing to CBF NC through this link: https://secure.qgiv.com/for/wr2.
- You can join Pastor Chrissy for a walk at Lynn Lake on Friday, Oct. 16 and pray for Welcome House Network.
- You can even buy a t-shirt: https://inktothepeople.com/cbfnc-welcome-house-community-network.
Whatever you choose to do, I encourage you to find a way this week to be a source of welcome and support to your neighbors.
Associate Minister of Faith Formation