Each year, Americans welcome an average of 70,000 refugees to the U.S. Whether they come from Tibet, Sudan, Iraq, Burma, Congo or another part of the world, all refugees share a similar journey. Jesus himself was a refugee having to flee to Egypt when Herod decided to kill all children under two years old. God has a huge heart for the alien and foreigners living among us, so we must reach out to refugees.
Refugees differ from internally discplaced persons (IDPs) in that they do not have the choice to remain in their home country. Refugees flee their country to save their lives. They run because of religious, ethnic, social, or political persecution, often losing beloved family members along the way. Many refugees then spend years and sometimes decades in sub-standard refugee camps. There are over 15 million refugees living in the world today. Around 180,000 (less than 1%) per year of all refugees get the chance to leave a camp. Many will live and die there!
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees screens refugees several times to verify their story, health, priority to be relocated, and then places them into a lottery system. Once a refugee “hits the jackpot”, they are resettled in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia or other country that receives refugees. The ones that are sent to America are passed along to one of about 11 refugee resettlement agency such as World Relief where they will get assigned a case worker who is responsible for them during their first 90 days in the US. $900 is given to each refugee to help them pay for food, clothing, rent, utilities, start-up costs, etc. These refugees must begin the process of building a new life in America.
Global Frontier Missions works alongside refugee resettlement agencies and helps recruit volunteers to help with a variety of programs to ensure that these refugees become contributing members of our society and start becoming self-sufficient.
Our programs focus in several areas:
- Helping refugees to meet their immediate needs upon arrival. These include helping refugee families find and furnish a first apartment, learn the public transportation system, get their children into school, find a doctor, learn English and secure a job. Refugees are expected to become self-sufficient within their first year of arrival to the U.S.
- Aiding refugees in overcoming past trauma and grief and helping them develop new support systems in America. Our goal is to connect every refugee family with a local church, small group, or Christian family.
- Preparing refugees for long-term success. This includes everything from managing money and understanding credit, to training for a new career or re-establishing professional credentials in the U.S.
Global Frontier Missions finds working with refugees a strategic initiative for fulfilling the Great Commission. Many of these refugees are coming from countries where it is very difficult to obtain a visa to serve as a missionary. While the majority of these refugees will never return to their native countries, most still have family and other ties through which the gospel may flow back to their homeland. Our desire is to make disciples that can in turn go and make disciples of their own people. We also reach out to immigrants and international students.