Mission Shift, an organization dedicated to reaching the communities in our own backyard with Christ, released a six part series in 2009 outlining how the landscape for Christian ministry has essentially “shifted.” Instead of going out into all the world, the world has really come to us, in the US. Part Five is labeled “Welcoming the Refugee.”
The video stated that:
- California, Minnesota, and Florida are the states receiving the largest number of refugees, accounting for 35% of all refugees resettled in the U.S.
- 1.5 million immigrants and refugees arrive in the U.S. per year
- 9.9 million refugees worldwide
The video outlines three specific challenges that refugees and immigrants may face.
- Loss of Self Identity
- Learning a new language and culture
- Poverty and basic needs
The video also gives several “concrete” ways that you can help and work with immigrants.
- Teach English! This is one of the easiest and most basic ways to build a relationship with a new immigrant. (World Relief has SIX S.A.L.T. sites around the Twin Cities)
- Donate! Refugees come to America with only one bag to hold all of their belongings. Collect a welcome kit of items that most families will need – sheets, pots and pans, cleaning supplies – to begin a new life.
- Adopt a refugee family for Christmas! This is a great way to start a new family tradition. Bless a recent immigrant family with winter necessities, such as gloves, boots, coats, and warm winter clothes!
- Learn a greeting in a new language! Taking the effort to learn a few words in another language can bring instant connection with an immigrant and open the door to a new friendship.
While the actual execution of the video is very cheesy and definitely low budget, the content is stellar. From personal anecdotes from refugees, to ways that the church should be adjusting to this new missionary landscape, I imagine this really would be a successful teaching tool.
For more information you can visit www.missionshift.org