Our New Neighbors

Dear Friends,

A few weeks ago, as I watched the news coming out of Afghanistan, I felt almost physically ill as the Taliban once again took over control of the country in the midst of the withdrawal of American troops. I got so emotional on a number of levels. How could this fragile democracy disintegrate so quickly? What must the soldiers who fought there be feeling? Had all the lives sacrificed and money expended simply been wasted? And what will happen to the Afghan people? Will girls and women there have any chance for an education, a career, a life? Will those who helped the Americans and other forces for freedom be tortured and killed? Will those in the most danger be able to get out of Afghanistan?


I don't know about you, but I just simply felt helpless in the face of what seemed like a huge catastrophe. What could I do? What could any of us do?

So I was surprised in a positive way to learn that of the Afghans who have managed to make it out of their country so far, some, quite a large number in fact - 7,000 - have arrived at our very doorstep, Camp Atterbury, here in south central Indiana. And these new refugees to our shores, our new neighbors, need our help. This may not have been the end result any of us envisioned when American troops first entered Afghanistan nearly 20 years ago, but here finally is something we can do in the midst of all the chaos and discouraging developments.

Each person at Camp Atterbury was vetted multiple times before their arrival. These are Afghans who risked their lives to support Americans who were in their country, along with their families. They are going through a period of quarantine and vaccination right now. A small city has been erected with schools, a hospital, dining halls, housing, and recreational facilities.

There will be some long-term resettlement issues, but for now, here is the list of the most urgent needs that we are aware of:

Diapers (all sizes)

Pull ups (all sizes)

Feminine Hygiene Products (no Tampons)

Modest Undergarments

Soccer Balls or Kick Balls

Hula Hoops

Jump Ropes

Sidewalk Chalk

Head Coverings (Solid Colors)

Friends, most of these people, from what I understand, left with almost nothing, grateful to get out of there with their lives and those of their families. You can see from this list, that their needs are quite basic. They helped our men and women who were there, and now they need our help.

It's a quick turnaround time. We are being asked to collect these supplies by Sunday, September 19, so we can get them to the distribution point, to then be delivered to Camp Atterbury on Monday. So, if you would like to help, please bring any items to the church, either during the week, or on Sunday as you come to worship.

There is also a way to give financially, if you prefer. Team Rubicon, in association with the American Red Cross, is coordinating the usage of these donations, and you can use the link below.

I see this as an opportunity for us to help make something productive and good come from a devastatingly bad situation. I'm grateful that as I've mentioned this to church members, it has met with an overwhelmingly positive response. Part of our vision as a church is to offer grace and hope to everyone we can, and I am so pleased that we are trying to do just that with our new neighbors.

Grace and Hope to you,

Pastor Duane

DONATE DIRECTLY TO TEAM RUBICON: All donations go towards our Ready Reserve Fund which allows Team Rubicon to quickly respond for vulnerable communities, like the Afghan families resettling in the US:!/donation/checkout &lt