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    The Future of Refugee Resettlement

    A staggering number of adults and children around the world have fled their homes due to conflict, persecution, or famine. The most recent figure numbers displaced people at 79.5 million worldwide. The average refugee spends 17 years in a refugee camp before resettlement. For many this means 17 years of living in a tent. Yet the U.S. recently announced that for fiscal year 2021, which started October 1, 2020, the country will welcome a maximum of 15,000 refugees. The Refugee Act of 1980 began the United States’ engagement in offering a new home to refugees. That year the U.S. welcomed well over 200,000 refugees. This year’s cap of 15,000 ensures…

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    Refugee Story

    My husband breathed heavily as he lifted me and our toddler onto the donkey. My husband’s brown skin, already white with dust, now reflected the moonlight. Our boy started to stir, and I glanced both ways, hoping the boy wouldn’t cry out and waken our curious neighbors. No one could know where we headed, which way we went. I didn’t understand the reasons for our furtive journey, but my husband said that our once safe situation had suddenly become dangerous. There was nothing to be done but flee over the border. Once we reached the more uninhabited areas of desert, I felt a sense of relief. My husband looked back…

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    Immigration in 2019: An Unprecedented Opportunity for Believers

    God be gracious to us and bless us, And cause His face to shine upon us—Selah. That Your way may be known on the earth, Your salvation among all nations. Psalm 67:1-2 (NASB) Today famine, war, gang violence, sectarianism, and political power wrench people from their homes. They flee to save their lives or to escape imprisonment or abuse. Hoards of people flood across borders and live among those they once feared or even fought. The U.N. Refugee Agency has documented 68.5 million people displaced worldwide. Embers of hope glow among the coals of tragedy, though. The love of Christ compels Jordanian churches to reach out in love to those who once threatened them.…

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    The State of Refugee Resettlement in 2019

    “This isn’t a school, it’s a family.” Those were the words of one of my Muslim refugee students at the end of our English classes one year. She hugged me warmly and when we said goodbye, I wasn’t saying farewell to a student, but to a friend. Not every refugee is as fortunate as my friend. Many are languishing in camps, waiting for a solution to their displacement.  The refugee crisis has faded into the background in the West in the midst of Brexit, a U.S. government shutdown, a changing political landscape, and other localized crises. So you may believe one of these misconceptions about refugees: 1.    Misconception: The world refugee…

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    Equip Refugees to Thrive

    Have you wanted to help refugees but didn't know how? Chrys makes serving refugees a family affair. Twice a week, she and her four children down smoothies and pile into their van. They head to For the Nations Refugee Outreach where Chrys teaches English to a class of that includes  Syrian, Iraqi and Congolese men, an Ethiopian, Eritrean and Sudanese women. Eleven-year-old Oliver helps these adults follow along with their reading while nine-year-old Truett and seven-year-old Elliot assist in a beginner’s class where they help students learn their letters. Chrys views these bi-weekly visits as a chance for her family both to serve in a meaningful way and to teach…

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    Somebody, Turn on the Lights

    “The people walking in darkness see a bright light; light shines on those who live in a land of deep darkness.” Isaiah 9:2 NET I rarely see bright-eyed children in Christmas dresses and or plaid vests singing, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” in a Sunday school program. The somber tone hardly seems appropriate for the joy of a children's Christmas pageant. This advent hymn focuses on a somber, troubled world waiting for the Messiah. Advent used to have little meaning for me, as a child. Instead, I looked forward to spreading buttercream frosting on Christmas cookies, singing “Silver Bells,” decorating a fragrant Douglas fir and opening crimson foil-wrapped gifts. But red foil…

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    So many Christian leaders disagree on Trump’s travel ban: Where I’ve come down

    Recently I was asked to sign a Lutheran Ministry’s petition protesting President Trump’s executive order on refugees. Frankly I felt very conflicted, unsure of how to respond.     Rarely has a national conversation about social justice been so loaded with appeals to the Bible and a Christian worldview. And yet rarely have Christian leaders been so divided in their response. Even Christian ministries to refugees and foreigners. Franklin Graham, head of Samaritan’s Purse, is defending the order and our need for national security, World Vision and World Relief are protesting it.   So I’ve been digging into the issue, both biblically and with Christian thought leaders, and here are…

  • Heartprints

    Teaching Children to Respect Another’s Culture: A Look into Islam

    Media coverage and conversations are everywhere about the President’s order to suspend visa entry into the U.S. from seven countries that have predominately Muslim populations. Our children are watching and listening. Unless we are proactive they will become afraid. Fear is one of Satan’s greatest tools for chaos. Throughout the Bible we are command to “fear not.”  Fear of the unknown drives many to act in unwise and unkind ways. Knowledge based on facts can help us trust God and free us to treat others with kindness. As parents/teachers/Christian leaders we need to be examples. Let's teach our children to respect all people. Let's alleviate fear by teaching respectfully about…

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    Texas Pulls Out of Refugee Resettlement: What This Means and Three Things You Can Do

    Recently Governor Greg Abbott announced that as of January 31, 2017, Texas will join Kansas and New Jersey in not participating in the refugee resettlement program. Does this mean refugees will only settle in the other 47 states of our union? Actually, no. The settlement of refugees across the United States is a federal program run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) rather than a state program run by each state. The federal funds that pay for the program in Texas have been funneled through Texas state officials, up to now. So the impact of withdrawing from the program is that the state will no longer be the middle…

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    Three Misconceptions You May Have about Refugees

    “This isn’t a school, it’s a family.” Those were the words of one of my Muslim refugee students at the end of our English classes for the spring. She hugged me warmly and when we said goodbye, I wasn’t saying farewell to a student, but to a friend. Not every refugee is as fortunate as my friend. Many are languishing in camps, waiting for a solution to their displacement. Let's take this month to ask God if he would have us invest in the lives of refugees. World Refugee Day is June 20. Refugees have faded into the background of American consciousness, but the suffering continues. Consider these misconceptions: 1.       Misconception:…