SUSPECTED TRENDS IN REFUGEE MINISTRY:
- Most refugee workers are part-time, not full-time
- Those who are full time are raising their own support, and most have lived overseas before
- People are either definitely not working with agencies – or think that partnering with agencies is a no-brainer… two extremes
- Only ¼ of Exchange participants are in discipling relationships with refugees
- Only a handful have seen someone decide to follow Jesus, but there is a witness in so many refugee neighborhoods and churches
- Very few refugee workers have ever heard about the North American Refugee Roundtable
- Most refugee workers have attended a Perspectives class
- Few attendees have heard of or attended – Common Ground, Crescent Project, Rethinking Forum
- If the leaders of the organization are men, they have a much higher rate of male volunteers
- There is a beginning trend toward incarnational ministry in refugee neighborhoods (living among them)
- Most refugee organizations are doing direct ministry, but few are working to mobilize churches/individuals
- The most common models of ministry are ESL classes (or tutoring) and International churches
- Most individuals and organizations are not aware of others doing the same thing, and are not benefitting from networking and communicating with like-minded believers who are passionate about reaching out to refugees
INITIAL GOALS & ASSESSMENT:
A. COMMUNICATION. This was to be established by our ability to clearly communicate tour destinations, times, places, and host (plus provide contact info of particular host).
B. CREDIBILITY. We aimed to find a grip of credible sponsors recognized as distinguished forces in refugee ministry to sponsor our trip. This could be a variety of possible donations: financial, parapherneralia, simply their verbal endorsement and public recognition of the tour’s value, etc.
C. BRANDING/MARKETING. We strove to create a visual brand/title for the tour so people can refer to it specifically and recognize it in the future.
D. SUCCESSFUL NETWORKING. Our goal was to ultimately connect local workers. While maintain connections made will largely rely on individual’s initiative, our goal is to keep record of valuable connections made of people/leaders in the ministry who have a shared vision of networking. We hope to maintain these key relationships in different cities and foster a sense of ‘team’ long-term.
Today was our last Exchange! After a beautiful Mother’s Day weekend in Denver… Sandi with her daughter and family, and Cherie with an old college friend who is a mother of 2… we were ready to wrap up our official tour. We met at Light of the Nations Church where 13 different ethnic groups gather to worship. There were 12 of us for this morning Exchange and we hosted community leaders from six different organizations. One of them was DenverRescue Mission, a homeless ministry that partners with a resettlement agency to provide support for new refugee families. And International Neighbors Network who match international students with refugee kids to tutor and help with homework. We heard lots of other great ideas too!
Colorado resettles 1000-2000 refugees every year. There are 5 different resettlement agencies– Ecumenical Refugee Services, African Community Services, Jewish Family, Lutheran Family Services, and Catholic Charities. And there are almost a dozen Christian organizations reaching out to these new Americans.
We are headed home now, and while we are not looking forward to the hundred degree temps that await us, we are excited to finally unpack and sleep in a familiar bed. There is still lots more work to be done as we follow up on these important new connections we have across the US. We also plan to hold a Tucson Exchange in early June when we can bring all the folks in our desert city together to hear some of the good ideas and best practices we have recorded, and perhaps to discover new ones among refugee workers who we already know and love but never get to see. Continue reading
Tags: 2012 Tour, Denver Refugee Ministry, RMC Tour
(from Cherie | Kansas City)
(Side note…to paraphrase Cherie’s disclaimer before writing this particular update… she wanted to note: I can’t really think straight tonight I’m so exhausted. So this is me offering what little i have before i crash. Please keep the ladies in prayer as they wrap up the end of the tour and face a solid time of reprieve, recuperating, processing and debriefing with their homebase team in Tucson.)
Tonight it was another small, intimate gathering, and that was okay with us because we are pretty worn out. But what a neat group of folks! They are all followers of Jesus who have deep relationships with refugee families. There were 3 organizations represented, including a huge church who invite 32 different nations to worship with them, and a couple of folks who do incarnational ministry among Nepali refugees. A couple planning to move to Africa also came to join us for the Exchange. It gave them new insight to the value of international outreach in America. They were delightful contributors saying they gained so much and also learned about the Nations coming here. We all shared some ideas and stories and some really great fellowship.
We also got to visit a restaurant today that is a business to help refugees and to share Kingdom truths. One of the employees is a Muslim follower of Jesus and comes from a family of generations of bread bakers. He bakes the bread, and they sell it to several international restaurants and businesses in town, and now they have opened a cafe as well. It was the best shawarma I have ever tasted! May God make this business prosper.
Tags: 2012 Tour, Kansas City Refugee Ministry
We met in a cute apartment location with the sound of a waterfall and recorded music. The weather was perfect and the flowers were blooming all over St Louis. It was a brunch meeting, beautifully served. There are multiple groups reaching out to refugees in St. Louis, but only about 7 people attended our gathering and enthusiastically shared of their ministry and asked questions. It was a great time for me to hear of their work and knowledge of Nepali folks. Great to see full time men involved and ministering.
Tags: 2012 Tour, Sandi's Thoughts, St. Louis Refugee Ministry
(from cherie | Indianapolis)
What an incredible group of folks! We sat in a circle with refugee workers from 13 different organizations who reach out to refugees in Indianapolis. All were very distinguished guests, and among them were the author of a well known book “Third Culture Kids”, and the director of Crescent Project Fouad Masri. What an honor to join together in serving our international neighbors! In Indianapolis they are reaching out to people groups from Iraq, Somalia, Iran, Palestine, Burmese (Karen, Karenni, and Chin), as well as several immigrants from China, India, Pakistan, and other nations.
Tags: 2012 Tour, Indianapolis ESL, Indianapolis Refugee Ministry
After a long drive and lots of delays, we found our way to Faith Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. We walked in and were greeted warmly by Steve & Joan Eisinger. Eight years ago they returned from living in Turkey and were surprised and blessed to find a whole community of Meskhetian (Ahuska) Turks who were refugees and just happen to live right across the street from their church. Steve & Joan are fluent in Turkish, so they really found fast friends in this international neighborhood and made lots of visits and drank a lot of tea. Then they started an English class for their Turkish friends, recruiting church volunteers to teach and take care of children. Now, eight years later, their English class program has grown quite a bit. They welcome 244 adults and 162 kids who all represent 32 countries, and this is all accomplished through 99 volunteers who give their time once a week to be a friend to refugees and help them learn basic English language skills. Wow… it was a beautiful sight to see! So many people, so many countries, so many languages, so many religions all in one place learning and laughing together. A glimpse of heaven! God is so good.
(a few more thoughts about this experience from Sandi)… Continue reading
Tags: 2012 Tour
(from Sandi & Cherie)
We have had two good traveling days, and a little bit of break from our busy schedule. We stayed overnight with Cherie’s good friend whom she has known for about 20 years, when she used to live in Virginia, and we enjoyed playing with her four kids. Sandi slept on the top bunk! Patty’s husband checked our oil and tire pressure and added what was needed… thank you Rob! In the morning Patty showed us around in Yorktown, and then we drove the Colonial Parkway to Williamsburg for more sightseeing. It was a fun day! Our plan to visit Washington DC or to try to make it to Chicago didn’t work out, but we were happy to do some local sightseeing, especially since everything was free!
Tags: 2012 Tour, NY ministry, refugee ministry in New York, yortown
While on the road, we’ve gathered a collection of good reads that pertain to refugee ministry. Some of them we had never heard of before and we’re excited about sharing them with fellow workers! Today we wanted to share just a few of our favorite resources (i.e. books, smart apps, networking opportunities, and videos). [Note: If you have any key resources you wanna share, please email cherie: email@example.com]
Foreign to Familiar ~Sarah A. Lanier, McDougal Publishing
Of Beetles & Angels ~Mawi Asgedom, www.lb-teens.com
When Helping Hurts ~Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert, Moody Publishers
Muslims, Christians & Jesus ~Carl Medearis, Bethany House
Speaking of Jesus ~Carl Medearis
Honor & Shame, Unlocking the Door ~Roland Muller, Xlibris Corporation
Tags: 2012 Tour, Refugee Ministry Material, Refugee Resources, RESOURCES
Our Exchange this evening was with a dynamic organization called Peace Catalyst International (www.peace-catalyst.net). They exist to stimulate peacemaking between peoples, promoting multi-dimensional reconciliation (with God, people, and creation). Two of the greatest areas of conflict in the world today are between Christians and Muslims and between the West and the Muslim world. Thus, they give special priority to these relationships.
The brilliant idea of the day is called a Peace Feast. They turn a meal into an intentional opportunity to bless international restaurant owners and call together people from different backgrounds. They invite Christians and Muslims to gather at an ethnic restaurant once a month and share a meal together, enjoy some good fellowship, bless the restaurant owner, and build relationships. Peace Feast is “a call to trade in your cheeseburgers for the good of the community”.
Tags: 2012 Tour, Cherie Grey, Refugee Ministry in Raleigh North Carolina, Sandi Wisley