Category Archives: intercultural elkhart

Jubilee House, Immigration, and Carpooling

Here at Jubilee House, we’ve discussed how we want to respond to some recent challenges in our community related to driver’s licenses and immigration. We were encouraged to share our response with the congregation and invite them into the work we’re doing — here’s an excerpt from what we wrote. 


Dear Friends at Prairie Street,


Many of you have heard about the challenges in our community that have arisen with driver’s licenses being invalidated, including anxiety about transportation. As members of Jubilee House, we talked about it and said that since we like to give rides to our friends or other people in need (as well as getting to know new people!) we’d like to help out when we can.


As Jubilee House we’ve passed word of our interest to the Immigration Task Force – a grass roots effort in Goshen and Elkhart with task groups working on transportation, translation, publicity, voter registration, legal issues, regional outreach, and financial aid.

We’ve said that we’ll most likely be available between 8pm and midnight throughout the week, and it would need to be one or two of us from the MVS unit driving the van. We imagine that we’ll be most able to respond to one-time situtations (access to medical services, visiting sick friends or family, etc.) but are interested in thinking creatively if people would need a more regular ride.

We have been in contact with the Jubilee House Support Committee about this plan, and were encouraged to both share about our decision and invite members of the congregation to join us. So while ride-sharing is one way we’ve chosen to respond, there are a number of ways to welcome and support our immigrant neighbors.



– Have interest in improving public transportation in Michiana? Through April 2008, public comments are being sought about the proposed 2009-2013 Transportation Improvement Plan for the Michiana Area Council of Government, and the transportation task group is seeking support for increased transportation options. (carl (at), 574-642-3603)


– Do you have money to give, but not time? The Goshen Ministerial Association and the Immigration Task Force have a created an Immigrant Support Fund to assist immigrants who have settled in Elkhart County. This fund provides financial support for the Immigration Task Force, churches, community
agencies, and professionals who are helping local immigrants.*  


– Want to get out in the spring weather for service in the community? The Immigration Task Force is working with organizations in Goshen, Elkhart, South Bend and Fort Wayne to coordinate a multicultural day of service on April 19. Come join in to demonstrate the value of diverse communities! (shenkja (at), 294-4967)

– Consider including our immigrant neighbors in your prayers. We often pray for families caught up in our broken immigration system, give thanks for the cultural richness of this community, pray wisdom for elected officials, and pray for right relationships among recent immigrants and those of us whose families immigrated longer ago.


– Arrange for speakers to come to your congregation, service club, neighborhood group, etc. to answer any questions about the undocumented immigrants in our midst and how efforts to make them leave negatively affect legal immigrants as well. (ambyler (at), 533-1996).



We invite you to join with those close to you in prayerful consideration of how the Divine may be at work in this situation – calling us into closer relationship with our immigrant neighbors.

On behalf of Jubilee House,


If you have any questions, contact us at 294-4967 or Jason at shenkja (at)

*Contributions can be given to the Immigrant Support Fund by sending a check to the Goshen Ministerial Association (PO Box 165, Goshen, IN 46527) with a note designating it for Immigrant Support Fund.  Since GMA is not currently a tax-exempt organization, donations made directly to it for the ISF are /not/ tax deductible.  Churches are also encouraged to support the ISF with financial contributions.

For additional information concerning the Immigrant Support Fund, please contact ImmigrantSupportFund (at) or at PO Box 165, Goshen, IN 46527.


a delightful thing happened coming home from work

I was walking home from work the other day and heard some guys playing Arabic music from their car. I thought, people don’t just generally play Arabic music unless they’re (1) way cool or (2) Arab. Both kinds of people who I’m always keen to meet.

So I stopped, said some Arabic hellos and they invited me into the convenience store they own (the One Stop Shop on Indiana Ave), gave me some Nestea and a tasty pastry and some Arabic coffee — about a cup and a half, which equals approximately 30 servings.

We talked a little about where they’re from, how I learned Arabic studying in Jordan, and about what’s going on at the Roosevelt Center across the street. Turns out Ali and Muhammad are from Palestine and Hatim is from Iraq. They’re right next to Alma Madera’s clothing store on one side and the Thai market on the other. Who knew Elkhart was so metropolitan? Looking forward to having occaision for good chats around there in the near future.