The IAFR Blog

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Tamrat had to run for his life

November 16, 2022

IAFR's Jonathan House has been providing asylum seekers with shelter and community for 5 years.

Double Your Gift during Give to the Max Day!

Tamrat had to run for his life. Persecution forced him to flee his homeland. He found a way to the US and asked for asylum.

Like other asylum seekers, he received no assistance from the government and was not allowed to work for at least his first six months. His greatest challenge was to find stable housing.

Tamrat was lucky. He had a friend already living in the U.S. For a while, Tamrat was able to stay with him, but the situation wasn’t stable. Most asylum seekers, like Tamrat, receive support from other immigrants - people who are often already under-resourced.

“During that time, I wasn’t Tamrat. I felt uncomfortable taking so much from my friend.”

Though he is highly educated and legally allowed to be present in the U.S. while his asylum case is being decided, for a long time Tamrat wasn’t legally allowed to work. With no means to provide for himself and his housing situation coming to an end, Tamrat didn’t know what to do. He was close to despair. Then he was accepted to move into Jonathan House.

"For me finding Jonathan House is God's provision. I wonder sometimes if I hadn't come here whether I'd still be alive.”

IAFR founded Jonathan House five years ago to help asylum-seeking refugees in Minnesota survive and recover from their ordeals. The original dream was to support two people in a single apartment. Today, we have capacity for 13 people across three sites in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Together we are providing asylum seekers with shelter and supportive community

We need to raise $18,000 during our Give to the Max Day campaign to fully fund food and shelter for Tamrat and his housemates for the next year.

You are the means by which God provides for asylum seekers like Tamrat.


In the year since he arrived at Jonathan House, Tamrat has found stability and healing. He has become close with his housemates, men from different parts of the world also seeking asylum. He has been able to start working and also volunteers his time to support others.

We are expecting a final answer on his asylum case any day, and we ask you to pray with us that he is able to stay safely in the U.S. This time is still hard, but he is hopeful and grateful that God brought him to Jonathan House. We are grateful, too, to have Tamrat as a brother in Christ.

"You are our brothers and sisters since we left our family back home.

The support of the Jonathan House community was God’s provision during Tamrat’s time of despair. Your support today will help him move forward as he rebuilds his life.

Over the last 5 years, Jonathan House has served 27 people like Tamrat - each of them with a story, skills, and dreams as unique as his. Soon, Tamrat will have a new housemate, our 28th resident. Over the next 5 years we hope that our community will grow with more resilient asylum-seeking friends, and also with neighbors like you ready to welcome them.

Join in solidarity with Tamrat.


When you partner with IAFR, you are meeting critical needs, strengthening hope, and re-humanizing our refugee friends. Your support is a tangible sign to them that they are not forgotten and that God hears and sees and cares for them.

Many thanks to our faithful and generous financial partners who make it possible for our team to show up in the lives of refugees and asylum seekers every day!

by Bethany Ringdal

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