Note from Ryan

Hey everyone! I want to give you an important update about our financial situation, and then share some thoughts from my heart. Since launching this project in 2017, we have relied on Redeemer Christian Church to process all of our donations. Basically, Redeemer incubated our small nonprofit so that we could focus our energy on impacting the refugee community. It’s been an incredible partnership!

In 2019, we were officially recognized as a nonprofit organization. As part of that process, we formed a Board of Directors and opened bank accounts of our own. COVID-19 slowed down the process, but we are finally able to accept donations directly.

Will you take a moment to help us get on our own feet? Make a donation to show your support! This will be a huge help and encouragement as we make this important transition toward independence. If you already give regularly, click the link below to set up your recurring gift directly with us. Finally, please reply to this email and let me know you’ve switched so I can cancel your other recurring donation.

These past few years have been wild! I’ve worked to address a complex situation in what I believe has been a consistently godly, compassionate, and strategic way. Yes, much of my approach has been unorthodox. The need for what I do is obvious, but ambiguous—so the position has been ambiguous as well. It’s been important for us to fail quickly so we could learn quickly. This means that we’ve been quick to try new initiatives, and equally quick to discard them when they haven’t worked. Yet through it all, we’ve always been willing to take the detour into homes and give our time to friends. That’s the thread that connects all we’ve done. This is what Jesus did. He invested his time in a few, and them sent them out to do likewise.

We’ve relied on donations rather than grants so that we can focus on key individual relationships rather than on large programs.We’ve sacrificed growth as an organization in order to spend time in Somali coffee shops and in Burmese apartments. It’s probably impossible to overstate the importance of the depth of these relationships. I can’t count how many people in our city regularly connect with refugees because of our role in fostering these relationships. These people don’t report to us as volunteers—because we’re not counting. It just happens. Just in the last couple of weeks, Ardo became a citizen, Shukri registered for classes at Amarillo College, Samuel got a job as a T.A., and Dr. Salad finished his MBA program. Seriously, the list is so long that I could never write it all. And I don’t need to. You get the point. As we pour into these individuals’ lives, we’re changing the fabric of this city. When the COVID pandemic hit our refugee community, it was Salad who took the initiative for translating informational flyers in Somali—not me.

The impacts of this work are deep, structural, and long-term. We’ve been a catalyst for countless new relationships, classes, and approaches. We’ve conducted community needs assessments. We’ve supported the Amarillo Area Foundation’s efforts to diversify their approaches. We’ve surveyed local ESL programs to identify which refugees were falling through the cracks. We’ve offered many trainings to churches and schools. We’ve partnered with the library. We’ve consulted for Amarillo College. We’ve advocated for refugees in local and national news outlets. We’ve bridged the wide gaps between immigrants and city institutions. We’ve been a compassionate voice in a world that has been angry.

I’ve taken large risks because I believe in both the temporal and eternal value of our mission. Even with a young family, I chose to forego benefits such as medical insurance and retirement savings. My family has lived off of a variable income for these three years, never knowing what we’d receive the next month. Yet you have supported our endeavors, believing with us that what we do matters. We are so thankful that our needs have always been met, through friends and strangers near and far. We have no debt. Thanks to your generosity, we are only focused on the future.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for participating with me in being a catalyst for change in this world. Change does not come easy, and leadership is so daunting! Yet your emails, your prayers, and your financial gifts have reminded me that I am not alone. There is an appetite for my approach. I believe God is blessing the investment of your money, and of my skills. Please continue to join me on the wild ride! If you have questions about any of this, just hit reply and let me know what you’re thinking.

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