Thursday, May 25, 2017

The long wait is over! A fruitful new chapter has begun; Welcome Makanja

Waiting to welcome Makanja
Last night, Wednesday May 24 Lakeside Congregation welcomed the stranger as Makanja arrived from the Congo.  As a congregation we will be supporting Makanja as he learns to live in Chicago.  

Here is a guest post from Marcie Bearman who was the airport as part of the welcoming committee.  Special thanks to the committee and our members who went to O'hare to welcome Makanja. Thanks to the Bagdade's for taking these pictures!  If you want to volunteer feel free to email me at  At this time we are looking for a simple flat screen TV for Makanja's apartment.

We will keep you updated as Makanja experiences Chicago and we welcome him.  

Guest Post by Marcie Bearman

Makanja arrived!
A group of us waited with signs and much excitement at the baggage carousel area where Makanja was expected until the last bag, Makanja's bag, stood alone.

Makanja had still not found his way to the baggage area and we began to worry in earnest.
And then he came towards us escorted by a few from our group  who found him near an entrance to the baggage area. The  TSA was trying to help him but there was no language that allowed understanding. Then Makanja saw a sign with his name on it and was released to Lakeside members who brought him to the larger group. 

Makanja was clearly exhausted but managed to smile, shake hands and thank each one of us with extreme sincerity. He is a small, thin young man with a  kind face. We all felt an immediate bond and  the desire to help this man gain back his strength and find independence, safety and happiness. 

Our job lies ahead of us, but I do not think there was one person  at the airport tonight who was not willing to meet the challenge. I feel certain that this evening will never be forgotten by Makanja, or any of us.

    Marcie Bearman