Salaam Center: Ministering to Refugees
The Salaam Center is a ministry in Baltimore that people at Columbia Presbyterian partner with in ministry. You can read more about the center and ways to contribute on the Salaam Center’s website and facebook page.
POC from CPC: Ken Williams
Ken is receiving gift bags at his home. Please contact him prior to dropping off.
Letter from Ken Williams:
[slightly edited for reading ease on our website]
There are many needs due to COVID-19 impact for the population this ministry serves. Many refugees who have been employed are often in the lowest, marginal jobs. Most of the people served by the center have large families and are shut into their houses these days, like the rest of us – but many of the parents in these families have either lost their jobs entirely or had their hours drastically cut. I've been helping folks apply for increases in food stamp allocations, unemployment benefits, medicaid cards, etc., for the last three weeks. Reda and Nadia Narouz, the couple who operate the Salaam Center, have asked that churches who support them provide extra support in this time of crisis. The deacons and the local missions committee at CPC have donated generously, but there is a large need for both food items and grocery gift cards to help families survive. Thank you so much for anything you can provide for these families.
- Gift cards: either from Aldi or Wal-mart
- Gift bags: suggested items to be included
- Reusable grocery bag
- Rice (jasmine or basmati)
- Olive oil or cooking oil
- Lipton tea bags (regular)
- Any kind of nuts
- Extra items: consider also including
- Special sweet – box of candy, packaged cookies, etc.
- Hand cream
- Some kind of kitchen item – dish towel, scrubbie, etc.
- Other hygiene or kitchen items
The Narouz Family: Reda, Nadia, Fadi, David, Vicky, Grace
Reda and Nadia both grew up in small villages in Egypt. Both were from Coptic Christian families and were raised as Christians in a culture which was predominantly Muslim. Separately, they both watched presentations of the Jesus Film, trusted in Jesus for salvation, and committed their lives to following Him. They met as adults when both began attending the Presbyterian church in Nadia’s village.
Reda began working with Campus Crusade for Christ in 1994, moving to Amman, Jordan, and working in a campus ministry. He and Nadia married in 1998 and moved together to Aman where they worked for Campus Crusade. Reda attended seminary beginning in 2006 at the Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary (JETS) in Amman. An important part of Reda’s job during those years was to circulate in the community and strike up conversations with Muslim people, befriending them and pointing them toward their prophet Issa (Jesus), encouraging them to read and learn what the Bible says about God and about Jesus.
Three of their children were born while they lived in Jordan: Fadi, David and Vicky. In 2009, they learned that their daughter Vicky had a medical issue which could not be treated in Jordan. Nadia came to Delaware with Vicky while Reda and the two boys prepared to move the entire family at the end of the school year. Reda returned to Amman for one year while Nadia and the three children lived in a Ronald McDonald House in Delaware.
Once it was clear that Vicky’s treatment was effective, they returned to Amman, but in 2012, her condition once again required them to come to the US for treatment. Their youngest daughter, Grace was born in the US. They lived in several places and worked at a number of jobs, but their hearts remained committed to ministry to Muslims. They began to contact churches in the Baltimore area seeking support for an outreach effort. Over time, a number of churches have begun to partner with them and provide committed volunteers as well as financial support.
Seeking to reach Arabic-speaking refugees, students, and families seeking medical treatment at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, the Salaam Center began operations in May, 2016, as a small store-front operation near Eastern Avenue and South Conkling Street, close to large concentrations of Arabic-speaking people in Moravia and in Dundalk. That facility is still operating, but has become far too small to meet the needs as the ministry has grown. More space is needed to facilitate teaching English and Citizenship classes; distributing food, clothing and school supplies; coordinating weekend programs for kids and families; and providing individual help for people to understand and navigate the educational, medical, legal, housing, employment and other paperwork that they need to deal with day-by-day.