Refugees Express Their Love for ‘Mom Pam’

Post a Comment » Written on December 17th, 2007     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (December 17, 2007) – The Sudanese refugees at Grace Covenant Church refer to Pam Hubbard as Mom Pam.

“We call her Mom Pam because she has been absolutely amazing for us,” says Gabriel Dut, who fled South Sudan. “She is the one who is always there.”

A refugee from Ethiopia, Abera Turee, eagerly wants to tell of Hubbard’s compassion. “I never thought when I came to this country that I would meet someone like Pam. She provides us not just with the tools of life; she provides us with love.”

On Sunday, the church surprised Hubbard with a reception for her years of shepherding the congregation’s ministry to refugees. Hubbard is moving to Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband, North Park Theological Seminary professor Robert Hubbard, who is taking a sabbatical. In the lower photo, a number of the refugees gather following the service for a “family” photo with Mom Pam. They are (from left) Abera Turee, Dominic Chol Deng, Gabriel Akoon, Daruka Achol Dut, Mom Pam, John Dut Kuol, and Joseph Alier Paul.

Grace Covenant has been involved in supporting refugees from Sudan since November 2000. The church began the ministry following a council retreat, when members discerned God was leading the congregation to focus on ministries of compassion.

Almost immediately, World Relief asked Grace to sponsor Cecily Minziti and her four-year-old daughter, Idea, who fled Khartoum, Sudan, when they were being persecuted by Muslims. The congregation agreed and was expecting that would be the extent of their assistance in the beginning.

Within months, however, they were supporting nearly 20 of “The Lost Boys” who grew up in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya. Since then, the church has helped re-settle refugees from several other countries including Vietnam. The most recent refugee arrived earlier this month.

“There’s nothing you can do but laugh,” Hubbard says. “God heard a tiny yes,” and then responded as if the church had shouted.

Idea, now 11 years old, goes to Hubbard’s house every Monday where the pair will cook, sew or watch movies together. Idea says she especially enjoys the time because her mother has to work three jobs in order to save money to bring over other family members. The top photo shows Mom Pam with Idea during the Sunday celebration.

Hubbard speaks with as much passion about the refugees as they do of her. Her eyes light up like a proud mother bragging on her children. She notes that they are becoming U.S. citizens, are attending college and getting jobs.

“Their trust in God has been amazing,” Hubbard says, in awe of the resilience with which they have lived. When Dut was seven years old, he ran from his village, which was being bombed. Several of residents also were attacked in 2002 by gang members in the area. No one was seriously injured, but the attack led several hundred area residents to march through the neighborhood in protest.

Many of the refugees lived in the same camps, and being able to attend church together and continue friendships has been an added blessing. “They’ve all known each other since they were little children,” Hubbard says.

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