Seven Ways to Reach Out to Refugees, Immigrants, and Other International Guests

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1.     Visit a refugee congregation near you, and ask how you can help them reach out to their community.

There are now 152 refugee congregations scattered across the North American Division.  Ask your local conference about the one nearest you, and drop by for a visit.  Ask them to teach you a greeting or two in their language.  They will feel honored by your visit.  Ask them how you can serve their people with them. (Be sure to check their worship time.  It may be in the afternoon.)

2.     Offer to come alongside a refugee resettlement (reception & placement) agency near you in welcoming new incoming refugees. 

Google “refugee resettlement agency” in your city.) Now, especially, with the recent funding cuts to refugee resettlement agencies, many are looking for creative ways to continue to care for refugees. Ask how you can help.

3.     Volunteer for the Literacy Council, or start your own ESL or Citizenship class!

Your knowledge of English is one of the easiest things to share with refugees and immigrants.  You do not have to be a trained teacher.  Just share what you know, and be a friend.

4.     Help refugee children with their homework/education.

One of the areas in which refugees and immigrant parents feel most helpless is finding tutoring and good role models for their children.  Helping their children with homework, or arranging for music lessons for their children will be a tremendous encouragement.  Better yet, find a way to help their children attend our schools.[i]  Refugee children have been saved from gangs this way.

5.     Invite an international student or refugee family to your home for a meal.

“75% of international students will never enter an American home while in the United States.  85% of international students will never enter an American church while in the United States.”[ii]  It is not much different for refugees, asylees, and other persecuted guests. Help change that statistic.  Adventist Christian Fellowship – Public Campus Ministries[iii]may be able to connect you.

6.     Invite a refugee to share their experience with a small group of friends from your church.

One of the things refugees and international guests crave most is friendships with Americans.  Asking them to spend time with you and your friends and share their experience will be heart-warming for them, and eye-opening for you.  “Be swift to hear. . .”[iv]

7.     Pray that God will lead you to a refugee/asylee/international student or guest who you can welcome.  These “random” divine appointments are often the best!

“All heaven is in activity, and the angels of God are waiting to cooperate with those who will devise plans by which the souls for whom Christ died may hear the glad tidings of salvation.  Angels who minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation, are saying to every true saint, “There is work for you to do.  Go, stand and speak to the people all the words of this life.”[v]

“I was a stranger, and ye took me in: . . . Insomuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”[vi]“Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”[vii]

This article was provided by the Adventist Refugee and Immigrant Ministries Department of the North American Division. For more great outreach ideas click here.

 

[i]http://www.educatingrefugees.org

[ii]http://www.isionline.org/GetInvolved.aspx

[iii]http://acflink.org/

[iv]James 1:9

[v]RH May 13, 1902, Art. A, par. 15

[vi]Matthew 25:35, 40

[vii]Matthew 25:34