Guest post by Bob Whitsitt, Executive Director of Serving & Outreach
This year’s World Refugee Day was a day I will always remember as 11 evangelical churches from seven states joined senior staff from World Relief to speak with some of our country’s leaders on behalf of the truly vulnerable—refugees.
A refugee is someone seeking safety from persecution or death based on race, religion, nationality or membership in a social group. A recent 60 Minutes episode featured the courageous “White Hat” brigade digging small children and survivors from the rubble of daily bombings in Syria. Forced to flee, they become refugees.
As followers of Christ, Leviticus 19:34 challenges us to treat the stranger as one of our own and to love them as we love ourselves. And in Luke 10:25-37 when asked, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan.
On Tuesday, our group met with staff from the State Department, our respective senators and representatives, Speaker Paul Ryan, a former Senior Advisor to Homeland Security, current National Security Council staffer and Chief of Staff for Ivanka Trump. God opened some pretty amazing doors for us to speak on behalf of those seeking a better future for their families.
Refugees have been caught up in the political rhetoric and fake news lumping them in with the 10 million plus visas issued for international tourists, students and business travelers. In our meetings, we were able to confirm that the US vetting program for refugees is the most extensive in the world. Did you know that since resettlement began, some 3.5 million refugees have been resettled in the US with zero American lives lost by a vetted refugee?
Christ Church, we have much to learn and much to do. We are now connected to 10 other churches and their efforts to welcome the sojourners coming to our cities. We will learn from each other in the days ahead.
Let’s follow Jesus—even into the tensions of our day!