Welcome Dinner for Three Afghan Refugee Families in Traverse City

After fleeing Afghanistan, some refugees are making a new home in northern Michigan.

Central United Methodist Church in Traverse City held a dinner on Thursday night to welcome afghan families.

“I think when you welcome refugees or anyone from another culture, you’re proclaiming your own desire to be open-minded,” said Chris Lane, Lead Pastor at Central United Methodist Church.

Four months ago, Ashraf Fana and his family moved to Traverse City from Afghanistan.

Fana says he and his family are learning English. Three of his children go to Traverse City Area Public Schools, and his oldest son works for Munson.

The Afghan Migrant Ministry Committee and several area churches are helping Afghan families adjust.

“I hear them talking about how it’s been hard, but we’re making a new beginning now,” said Lane. “I kind of feel for them. I don’t know what it would be like to think I may never go back to my homeland. I can’t get my head around that.”

Fana says he’s just grateful his family is finally safe.

“Every parent wants their children safe, and they are doing well, and they are learning peacefully,” said Ashraf Fana, Afghan Refugee. “There is no concern of an explosion or concern of terrorist attack. Every parent will be happy.

Pastor Lane hopes more Afghan refugees will choose to make their new home in the Cherry Capital.

“The work is here, the agricultural industry and factories here, number of professional things they could do,” said Lane. “If you look around, the demographics of children are going down, fewer people in the middle of life, more retirees are settling here. We need to be diverse.”