Why Chicago? According to the latest released Census there are 870,000 foreign born living in Virginia. The Arab population alone has been growing at a rate of 37% in the last 10 years (AAIF). Representing countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Sudan and Lebanon. Virginia is also home to international students, government sponsored refugees, asylees, and immigrants looking to start a new chance at life here in America. This allows us the opportunity to WELCOME and SEND well.
Why Chicago? Chicago was chosen due to it being a main geographical hub where a large number of foreign-born are calling home. The population of internationals here has been ever increasing and has doubled in size in the past 10 years. It offers a place to be able to come alongside of thousands of refugees that have been resettled within the city limits; helping them to acclimate to life after fleeing war-torn homelands and refugee camps they lived in for years.
It is also home to the largest 4-year public university in all of Virginia where the international student population is from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kurdistan, Iran, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Kenya, Congo, Liberia, Uganda, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, Albania, Belgium, Spain, Morocco, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Cuba. Can you imagine having access to people from so many different nations in one place?
The West End is becoming much more diverse as well. The demographics from Short Pump to Parham Rd have seen a huge transition to foreign-born immigrants. These families are made up mostly of middle class immigrants that are established and becoming American Citizens. In just the past 10 years there has been over 15,000 new US Naturalization Citizenship’s in Richmond for those that have completed their requirements!
We hope to serve alongside organizations like the International Mission Board (IMB) that have a heart for the unreached people groups. For more information about helping us pioneer a new location in Richmond, contact us. To learn more about our existing GFM bases, please check out Atlanta, Houston or South Asia.