Our church did not plan to have a ministry to refugees, but God did. It began when a lawyer in our church agreed to help a young man from Burundi apply for political asylum. Since then, we have welcomed 40 more refugees into our congregation—people who have fled religious and political persecution in 10 different countries. We develop mentoring relationships with these men and women to help them navigate the Scriptures, job market, education, housing etc. We have reunited families separated for years. And our entire congregation has been blessed as these new Americans become part of our church family—bringing these scriptures to life.
Hear a recent story of a husband and wife reunited:
Saving the Saved—Style Weekly, Richmond, VA — How refugees from the Chin state of Burma helped resurrect a historic Richmond church, one family at a time.
World Vision Refugee Ministry Toolkit — a toolkit for churches seeking to reach out to new immigrants in their communities.
Changing Places — PRISM Magazine article on churches serving refugees, July/August 2012 — "It was his first day in America, and Farah Mwechiwa was speaking on a telephone for the first time in his life. “All Farah knew was that somehow the numbers on that piece of paper he had would reconnect him to his brother, now living in Texas,” says Angie Jones. “He was amazed at hearing his brother’s voice through that strange piece of equipment.”
50th Anniversary of the 1951 Geneva Convention — Refugees Magazine articles — Great background on the history of policy and practice dealing with refugees and asylum-seekers around the world.
Welcoming Refugees into Your Community — Presentation from 2012 CCDA Conference, by Pastor Chris Sicks and Deacon Shangwok Deng.
In 2010, 73,000 refugees arrived in the United States, fleeing persecution, torture and political oppression. Another 21,000 were granted asylum in the US. They have settled in all 50 states. 1,900 children are currently being held in detention awaiting their day in court where they hope to receive asylum and begin their lives in the US in safety. Sound overwhelming? It might, but here's the good news: Your community can be blessed without being overwhelmed. Begin with one person, or one family. Welcome them into your church family or organization. You will have opportunities to help them learn English, find housing and jobs, learn about life in this country, and perhaps to meet Jesus for the first time. Many churches and community organizations are currently serving these new Americans in comprehensive ways. Learn what's involved and how to get started.