Gateway Church in Austin, Texas has been helping refugees from all over the world adjust to their new lives in America since 2006, and now they are partnering with a local restaurant to help them find employment, according to KXAN. Teaming together, the church and the restaurant are welcoming refugees and helping them successfully settle in the community by assisting them with the resources needed to move forward.
One refugee from Burundi, Alliance Samuragwa, shared that when he first arrived in Texas the process for settling in was not easy. Refugees not only are coping with the traumatic experience of having to flee their homeland, they are struggling to learn a new language, new culture, and find housing, doctors, schools, and employment. Now, having established his new life successfully, he is working with the church to help newcomers with their needs.
Pastor Charles Dishinger of Gateway Church shared that he wants all to feel welcomed in the community regardless of where they are from. Pastor Dishinger knows that the church community can help them in so many ways, and that community has now expanded to Smokey Mo’s BBQ which is opening opportunities for refugees to find work. Gini Quiroz from Smokey Mo’s BBQ shared that “it wasn’t a question of are we going to do this, it was a question of how can we do this.” The restaurant works with the church to ensure that applicants have all of the documents they need for employment. Recognizing that some may think it is easy to apply for jobs, it can be a complicated process if one does not have access to technology nor are they able to speak the language.
With more refugees coming, and many expected from Afghanistan, Gateway Church and Smokey Mo’s BBQ are preparing to welcome and support them upon their arrival. Early this year, the two will team up for a job fair in which the restaurant hopes to gain new employees. Showing refugees that there are people here to help them is a gesture that is surely appreciated. Opening one’s community to strangers is part of living a life of faith in which members help each other find their way. The teamwork between Gateway Church and Smokey Mo’s BBQ provides a source of hope for refugees who need faith, love, and peace to be able to move on in their new lives. Obtaining employment at Smokey Mo’s BBQ is not only helping refugees financially, it is helping them find a supportive community, which is arguably among life’s greatest necessities.