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Published on May 29th, 2014 | by ABCUSA

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Rochester Church Reaches out to Local Refugees

The story below is about a ministry of the Lake Avenue Baptist Church in Rochester, NY, which is a recent recipient of the Matthew 25 Grant, sponsored by ABCUSA.

Lake Avenue Baptist Church in Rochester, NY, is reaching out to the refugee population near their church.  Their ongoing ministry provides case management services to those in need of support.  Their efforts focus on connecting people with the resources they need in healthcare, social service, education, employment and education.  Hkadin Lee, their Refugee Coordinator, and Liz Ewell, along with other volunteers, also make home visits, accompany people to medical appointments when needed and help in countless other ways as these refugees from Burma seek self-sufficiency and cultural adaptation.

With funding help from the ABCUSA Matthew 25 Grant, they have expanded their education work.  English classes for adults meet twice a week, and includes teaching on topics related to American culture, hygiene and emergency services.  They make many field trips to help participants learn of the free and low cost resources the community has to offer. 

Tutoring is offered to high school and middle school students one evening per week.  In addition to the homework help, volunteer tutors are building mentoring relationships with these new Americans, helping them to realize their full potential.

This year the church is celebrating that some of these immigrants are finally becoming naturalized US citizens!  They have done the hard work of learning enough English and American history and civics to become legal citizens.  All are so excited to see refugees now being able to claim this as their new homeland, a place where they belong .

Lake Avenue Baptist Church, in partnership with the ABCUSA Matthew 25 Grant, is truly serving as the hands and feet of Christ to their new neighbors from Burma.

The Matthew 25 Grant, sponsored by ABCUSA, is funded by a generous donor whose goal is to help meet the needs of “housing, feeding, education and health with regard to the less fortunate.” Ministries must be in relationship with American Baptist Churches to be eligible to apply.  Awards for the Matthew 25 grant are made twice a year, in April and October, with application deadlines of March 1 and September 1. To view the guidelines and download the application form, click here.


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