Chesapeake Conference ACS Responds to Afghanistan Crisis
Story by Evan Knott
Chesapeake Conference Adventist Community Services (ACS) team members responded to the Afghanistan crisis last week by providing emotional and spiritual support to evacuees arriving through Dulles International Airport in Virginia. Chesapeake Conference’s ACS team administered the emotional and spiritual care as part of its ongoing partnership with the American Red Cross.
The majority of the evacuees cared for were American citizens returning to the United States as a result of the rapid military withdrawal. Many of the Americans returning were also of Afghan descent, including some who tragically left family behind in the war-torn country.
“These are people who are having to completely restart their lives,” says Ignacio Goya, ACS director for Chesapeake Conference. “Many are experiencing shock. We’re here for them in these moments of change, stress, and loneliness. We’re here to show them care and love and to let them know that they’re not alone.”
ACS team members also offered support for the volunteers and government employees working long hours in response to the crisis, many of whom have felt overwhelmed by what they’re seeing.
“No one has stopped to ask many of these people how they’re doing,” says Goya. “Working in a crisis is stressful. Imagine trying to help person after person for an eight-hour shift for 10 days in a row. Many are feeling frustrated because they just don’t have enough resources to help those arriving in the way they want. So we listen to them and cry with them and show them care and love.”
Response efforts will soon shift from providing emotional and spiritual care for those arriving in the United States from Afghanistan to organizing long term support for evacuees who must now restart their lives.