LISBON, N.D. — A fundraiser is set here for Wednesday evening, June 12, to collect money to help a local pastor and his family cover the costs of a legal battle to remain in the United States.
Juwle Nagbe, 68, a native of Liberia, serves as a pastor for three congregations in southeastern North Dakota.
He leads Sunday worship services at the Enderlin United Methodist Church, which is followed by a service at the Lisbon United Methodist Church, which is followed by a service at the Lisbon First Presbyterian Church.
Nagbe, who has lived in North Dakota since 2010, fled Liberia in the 1990s during the Liberian Civil War, a conflict in which hundreds of thousands of people were tortured and murdered, including several of Nagbe’s family members.
He arrived in the United States in 1997 and attended college at Duke, later studying pastoral education in Atlanta before coming to North Dakota.
Nagbe, his wife and four children, and several thousand others from Liberia have been allowed to stay in the United States as part of the Deferred Enforcement Departure program.
President Donald Trump ordered that program to end on March 31, meaning Nagbe would have been sent back to Liberia.
However, the president extended the program for another year, after which Nagbe and other Liberians are to be deported.
Currently, there is no path to citizenship for those in the DED program.
Nagbe has hired a Fargo immigration attorney to help him and his family, but it is an expensive proposition.
To help out, the Ransom County Ministerial Association is hosting a fundraising event from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 12, at the Lisbon Pizza Ranch.
One organizer of the event is Pastor Norm Anderson of Trinity Lutheran Church in Lisbon, who along with a number of other pastors from the Lisbon and Enderlin areas, will wait on and clean tables at Wednesday's event.
Any tips they receive will go toward Nagbe's legal battle to stay in the country.
Anderson said Wednesday's event was organized for two reasons: because it is the Christian thing to do and because Nagbe "is the most genuine man you'll ever meet."
Anderson said as he and his colleagues work at the restaurant Wednesday evening they will also be telling people about Nagbe's story and that of his family, so everyone understands what the effort is about.
Nagbe said Anderson took him under his wing when he came to North Dakota, and he is very grateful for Anderson's help and the help of many others in the community.
"I'm grateful to God for them," Nagbe said.