A Spirit of Welcome
I listen and my heart enlarges. In recent years, I prayed daily for His Calling that would enable me to take all that He has taught me throughout my life and to serve a ministry dear to His heart. He first formed and shaped me by working with several faith-based non-profits.
I listen and my heart enlarges. Last summer, God opened a door for me and before me was CIAC. I am in awe of God’s Presence and His Hand on all that CIAC is and does for the immigrant and refugee neighbors right here in Pittsburgh. God so loves the sojourner and His heart for those who leave their homeland for so many reasons.
I listen and my heart enlarges. I have worked in a major corporation, the US Olympics, and numerous non-profits, and none have captured my heart as much as the team who make up CIAC. While brilliant in their craft, all they are and all they do is Christ centered. From the founder and the board and the wonderful heart of Allegheny Center Alliance Church, who provided the initial startup funds, Christ is all!
I listen and my heart enlarges. God knows my DNA and in that is my history as a second generation American. I grew up in a close-knit family where both sets of grandparents emigrated from Croatia, leaving behind impoverished conditions and an uncertain political climate. There was a wonderful blend of culture, language, customs, values, and faith. I heard stories in broken English of the sojourner and was and still am blessed by their faith in our God who brought them here.
I ask that anyone reading this will sit in God’s presence to rest and think about the spirit of welcome we provide the sojourner and the impact they have had on our region…and still do! I am so proud of CIAC and our service in helping our immigrant neighbors navigate the legal system.
Listen and enlarge your hearts…to the “poor and tired” immigrant with open arms and love. Thank you for your prayers and your heart for all we do!
Compassionate Care for the Sojourner
A few weeks ago, I received an email about a man who needed to meet with a legal representative as soon as possible. He arrived in my office nervous and frustrated, as we were the third law firm he had spoken with about his case, which had a deadline in only two weeks.
I started our conversation as I do all of my consultations – “Tell me your story. Take as much time as you need.”
He visibly relaxed and started to talk me through the legal process he had tried to do on his own. Now he had a letter from immigration threatening to deny his application without documents. As I explained how I could walk him through the steps, he told me “All of the other lawyers wanted my money, but didn’t want to help me. They only wanted to file a paper but I still had to do all of the work.”
At CIAC, we approach our clients with care and compassion. The task of obtaining a needed document is overwhelming and challenging for many. Our legal aid involves more than filing applications – we will walk side by side with our client through their many-year process.
That client’s application is in the mail, with all of the necessary documents he needed. As I put it in the mailbox, I said a prayer as I always do, that God would protect his application and would touch the immigration officer’s heart to decide favorably.
A World of Many Languages
In our work at CIAC, we meet with people from over 40 countries around the world, each with its own language and dialect.
We offer free translation for our appointments to ensure our clients understand, in their own language, the complicated legal process of immigration. We believe our call to compassionate care mandates we ensure this service is available at no cost to the client.
Your donation to CIAC enables us to offer free interpreters including Bhutanese, Nepalese, Arabic, Dari and more – at a yearly cost of about $5,000.