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Immigrant’s Nightmare Creates Opening for Church to Help

MINNEAPOLIS, MN (August 4, 2010) – Shamsho Abdi, a Somalian immigrant who knows little English, needed a new house where she could live with her severely disabled 15-year-old son.

She knew the house she ultimately purchased needed repairs, but did not know it had been condemned. She found more problems than she was led to believe. Then a contractor she hired turned out not to be a contractor and in the process she lost all of her life savings.

When members of First Covenant Church learned of her plight through a Star Tribune story, they wanted to help. On Saturday, members of all ages will put in their third workday at the residence.

“It’s been really fun to help push this project along,” says Pastor Dan Collison. “Lots of people are doing things they haven’t done before.”

First Covenant is one of a number of churches and organizations that have been helping the family. “We were made aware of a way we could help, and we joined others and jumped in,” says Scott Barsuhn, executive director of ministry. “It is appealing to do the work we’re called to do for all kinds of people with all kinds of backgrounds!”

The service is bringing together people from the church, individuals of the Somali community, and local contractors. Tasks have included hanging windows, cleaning the yard and garage, hanging sheetrock, and sanding.

About the Author

  • Marianne Peters is a freelance writer, master gardener, and environmental educator. She lives in Plymouth, Indiana with her husband, two teenage daughters, and two mischievous ginger cats called Fred and George (after the Weasley twins of Harry Potter fame). From 2008-2013 she wrote the Creation Care column for Covenant Companion magazine. In 2011, her family decided to downsize by half, a decision that led to the publication of her book Declutter for Good: Share Your Life and Reclaim Your Life. She blogs about green living and gardening at www.freshwordswriting.com.

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