During the season of Epiphany we are featuring Living Epistles during our Sunday morning worship. Epiphany is a season in which we explore how Jesus is revealed as the saviour of the world and how we can join in and participate in God’s saving work. It is a season to marvel at the mission of God and to intentionally think about how we can be on mission with our God. Our vision for these 5 Living Epistles is to highlight ways that we can allow the light of Christ to shine through us so that Christ may be revealed to the world.
Yesterday morning we told the story of World Relief. World Relief is an international organization with a thriving office in Durham. They are committed to standing with the most vulnerable people in our world- immigrants and refugees. In Durham they help resettle international refugees. (Website: http://worldreliefdurham.org/)
These refugees come from all over the world (Burma, Sudan, Congo, Vietnam, Iraq, Somalia, ect.), but they have one ting in common – they have been victims of violence, oppression, or injustice as a result of their ethnicity, religion, or political affiliation. They have all applied to the United Nations for political refugee status and have cleared extensive background checks and interviewing. The UN then works with the US state depart who in term contracts with local organizations to help resettle these individuals and families. World Relief is one of these organizations and it happens to be an evangelical Christian organization that is committed to equipping the church to reach out to these families and individuals!
Here is a link to a short video that tells the story of a refugee family that has been settled to Oak Creek Village by World Relief: http://worldreliefdurham.org/text-to-give-3/
Volunteering through World Relief an amazing way to love and serve an individual or family. These famiies and individuals are dry sponges in great need of friendship and practical help. Consider how you could get involved! This is a great fit for families, small groups, two families to partner together and spend time with a family. It is a great way to teach our kids what it looks like to reach out and love our neighbors!
Here is our experience with World Relief
Eleven years ago Amy and I volunteered through World Relief to be conversational English tutors for a young Iraqi family that actually flew here on September 11th, 2001. Their plane was rerouted to Canada, but eventually they made their way to Chicago with their two young children. They were a hardworking couple who had a thriving business in north Iraq. He owned his own gas station and car repair shop at the age of 23. One day some individuals from the government came and told him if he wanted to stay alive he must abandon his home and business and never come back. They were being discriminated because they were Kurdish – a oppressed minority group in Iraq, Turkey, and Syria. It is the largest people group in the world that does name have its own country.
This young family fled to Syria where they lived for 3 years before being granted refugee stats and coming to the Chicago area. Amy and I were introduced to them by their World Relief case manager began meeting with this young family once a week. We quickly fell in love with them, their two young children, and their food! They knew no English, but were eager to learn. The wife cooked for us often, we read their mail, took them shopping, helped them get a car, taught them to speak the language, sat with them, and laughed and cried with them.
We are still good friends 11 years later. They now live in the Boston area, just bought a house, and just had another child. He is a manager of a repair shop and fixes cars up on the side and she is a CNA at the hospital and works nights. The husband’s first job in the states was working for a repossession agency. Needless to say he learned quick when it came to the colorful aspects of the English language!
We shared our lives with them and they shared their lives with us. They know that we love them and they know that we love Jesus.
Consider how you could get invovled relationally with a refugee. World Relief is a great organization that All Saints has financially support for the past 3 years and we hope to stengthen our partnership with them with regards to volunteers.
World Relief is currently resettling about 25 people a month! Many volunteers are need! The need is great. The opportunity to shine the light of Christ is huge! Is the Spirit calling you to get invovled?
Visit the World Releif Website for more information!
Talk to me (Thomas Kortus) for more information!