OBI Members Help Afghan Refugees by Linda Sheimo
Updated: Sep 18, 2021
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying ”Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “ Here am I, send me.” Isaiah 6:8.
The call went out from the Religious Support Office at Ft. Lee, Virginia for volunteers to help with donations to support the incoming refugees from Afghanistan. Even though the call wasn’t for an OBI response, members of our board answered as they were led.
The first to respond was Caroline Grube, Director of OBI Family Support Programs. She is a member of the Fort Lee Protestant Women of the Chapel and that organization immediately stepped up to serve. Caroline worked closely with Michelle, who was the Volunteer Services coordinator with the representatives from the State Department, USAID, International Rescue Committee (IRC), Army task force and others to meet immediate needs of the refugees. Caroline put out a message for the identified donations and items began arriving. Diane Carnahan, OBI Board member, collected from her church and community. She drove several hours to do her first delivery and stayed an additional day to be on national TV with Caroline and several other women volunteering. The items included hygiene, baby care, shoes and clothing.
Lib Conner, longtime OBI supporter and project participant, traveled several hours to help with sorting and distribution. Linda Sheimo, OBI Director, Sierra Leone Hospital Chaplains, flew from Wisconsin to work alongside these women as she too heard the call. It was a joy to work with the women as we prepared clothes and shoes for the refugees. We had the opportunity to hear some stories and hear their appreciation. Our final days were spent in the large donation center that had MOUNTAINS of donations, Amazon and mail deliveries, car and truckloads that still needed sorting for distribution. We attacked with vigor alongside spouses, veterans and military members representing all the services.
We did need to be flexible and adjust to changes, but we could see how God was using us and the other volunteers to show His love. While this was NOT an OBI project, Caroline, Diane, Linda and Lib responded to the call to meet the need and then gratefully let it transition to another group.
OBI operates in the same manner. It goes where asked to meet a specific immediate need and then hands the program or project off to a country lead or another organization.
You may not be able to respond “Send Me” but you can pray and/or provide funds to enable our workers to move quickly when needed. Please consider a donation to the “2021 Women’s Ukraine Conference” as they respond to desperate military and family moral and psychological needs.
Linda Sheimo, COL, US Army, Ret.
OBI Director, Sierra Leone Hospital Chaplains