In February 2018, our director, John, first heard of Immigrant Hope as a national organization when staff from the Immigrant Hope Santa Barbara office gave a presentation at a local church. Intrigued by the ways the organization addressed immigration and spiritual needs, he also felt God tugging at his heart to explore starting a branch of Immigration Hope in the Phoenix metro area as well.
He met with local church pastors at Redemption West Mesa to discuss the idea. They were also excited about the possibility of opening a branch in the community. Together, they gathered 8 other pastors from the area as well to help brainstorm paths to make an immigration office in our community a reality.
In May 2018, John and his wife Marge traveled to Santa Barbara, CA to visit the Immigrant Hope office there to learn more. This “vision trip” was overwhelming but very encouraging. There was so much work to be done and steps along the process ahead of them!
At first, progress was made quickly. By June 2018 the first “Launch Team” meeting took place. Planning, paperwork and documentation to become an official nonprofit organization were put into motion. John and our other accredited representative, Rachel Gonzalez, felt God’s call work full time with Immigrant Hope to serve client’s immigrations needs. Others committed to serve on a volunteer basis. November 2018 saw us officially established as a nonprofit organization in Arizona. John and Rachel started legal immigration training courses in January 2019. A finished packet for official accreditation was mailed in April 2019.
Then came a long period of waiting, praying, and trusting God’s timing. Without official government accreditation, we could not open our doors or meet with clients. In the meantime, we had outreach meetings in our community to share information about general immigration concerns and resources currently available. Finally, 8 months later in December. 2019 we received the “green light” from the government and were granted official immigration accreditation status. We were finally and officially, Immigrant Hope- Mesa!
When we first opened our doors in Jan. 2020 were had 2 accredited representatives and 5-6 volunteers. Since then, we have grown! We have been able to serve 200 people from 32 countries with their immigration needs. To address the busyness and great need for immigration services, we are in the process off adding a third accredited representative and have grown our volunteer support as well!
God has blessed us and provided us a way to join His work in caring for spiritual needs of people in addition to their immigration concerns. We are privileged to serve and love those that our society often consider “the least of these”. As we look forward, we are excited to see what work God has is store for us and grateful for what he has already done.