Refugees want English — to connect and contribute.

Too many refugees struggle to connect because of English. They want to be proud contributors in their new home, but instead, feel shut out. 

We teach refugees English and U.S. citizenship free of charge, so they can connect with our local communities and proudly contribute through volunteerism with dignity.

Just because refugees have been legally resettled in America doesn’t mean life automatically becomes great.

They’re required to learn English, find employment, and assimilate into a new society, all within a matter of months.

It’s difficult for refugees to feel like they belong when they’re shut out by people who don't understand them.

Through English, you help refugees:

  • Bridge the family gap by helping Mom and Dad speak into the lives of their children who are quickly learning English in school.
  • Experience belonging, nurturing a deep appreciation for their new home, America.
  • Qualify for higher paying jobs with better conditions.

When a refugee connects with Abounding Service

Amazing things happen!

For 11 years, we've taught English to over 1,000 refugees. In 2019, nine of our students even passed the notoriously difficult citizenship test & interview and swore the Oath of Allegiance as proud, new, U.S. citizens!

Sada's Story

Sada and her family came to America after years of struggle and devastating loss in Congo. She and her husband, Olivier, began taking English classes and building community at Abounding Service. Now, their entire family is on a path toward unity, connection, and hope.

We believe you should be able to make a positive impact without fear of wasting time or money.

Here's the plan.

  • Download our helpful guide. Avoid these "Ten Traps!"

  • Sign up for our newsletter

  • Find out where you fit!

Helping refugees like Sada matters a lot to our whole team


Gary and Derek lead Abounding Service with the belief that the entire trajectory of a refugee family can be wonderfully changed by giving them the ability to learn English and become part of a new culture.

  • Gary DeVelder

    Gary DeVelder

    Pastor Gary DeVelder is the Founder and Executive Director of Abounding Service. Gary was ordained to the ministry in 1969 and has held positions in religious education, fundraising development, and non-profit administration.

  • Derek DeVelder

    Derek DeVelder

    Derek DeVelder is the Assistant Director of Abounding Service. He was an English instructor for adult refugees at Lutheran Family Services in Albuquerque, NM, and has worked in performing arts administration in marketing and fundraising.


  • “What do your people need?”

    In 2009, after decades of helping people so that they can go and serve others, Gary met Tara Nepal, a Bhutanese refugee leader in Phoenix who exclaimed, “My people need English!”

  • Building relationships

    Gary paired eager volunteers with refugees to learn English in a way that made it easy to jump right in. These relationships built belonging and confidence.

  • Helping more

    Classes at a nearby church gained over 100 adult refugee students, then expanded to a donated apartment in a complex entirely of refugees, and continued over the years in a similar condo.

  • Continuing to serve

    Over 10 years, more than 1,000 refugees have taken English classes at Abounding Service. We have coached several each year who passed the difficult naturalization test/interview and are now proud U.S. citizens!

Our Team

Our Board

Sarah Eary, Chair

Rev. Donna Buckles, Vice Chair

Randy Gault, Secretary

Mike Gallagher, Treasurer

Robert Hawthorne, Member

Rafiki Niyonzima, Member

Lead Volunteers

Emily Fourte

Joan & David Loney

Partner Churches & Organizations

Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest

Vision & Values

Our Vision

The marginalized are empowered to serve others

Our Mission

We teach adult refugees English, changing the trajectory of entire families.

Core Beliefs

  • We believe everyone is created to serve others in such a way that those people, in turn, will serve others.
  • Volunteers are key to our vision and mission because of the relationships they develop with refugees.
  • Refugees who learn English will connect, belong, and serve others, changing the trajectory of entire families and impacting their communities.

Our Values

  • Connect

    We value providing opportunities for UN-sponsored refugees to find connection and community. In Luke 14, Jesus says that we are to go out, find the marginalized, enable them to come in, and fill His kingdom.

  • Serve

    We value serving people created in God’s image in such a way that they will be able to serve others.

  • Belong

    We value what God says in Leviticus 19:34. “Treat them (foreigners) as you would an Israelite, and love them as you love yourselves.” We want to provide a community where refugees feel like they belong. 

Read more about what we value in our Statement of Faith.

How you can help:

There are a lot of ways to get involved with Abounding Service. One of the simplest and most impactful ways is to support monthly. For only $25 a month, we can take a refugee through our entire program and set them on a lifelong path toward success.

Other ways to get involved:

  • Volunteer

    Volunteer as a one-one-one Encourager.

  • Make a Single Donation

    Help scholarship free classes for refugees as they rebuild their lives through English.

  • Take the Arizona Tax Credit

    Reduce what you owe in AZ state taxes, dollar-for-dollar.

Get Involved

We’re so glad you’re interested in joining us! Fill out the form below to let us know how you’d like to be involved. Someone from our team will be in touch with you soon.