I’ve written about refugees before (for example, A Little Child Shall Lead Them and Inviting Jesus In). I’ve had my friend and fellow writer Lisa Bartelt guest blog about it. But it’s not time to stop.
My heart is broken today.
This was the headline that caused it:
Here’s the explanation from Church World Service (CWS):
“The Trump administration has set the refugee admissions goal for next fiscal year at 30,000—the lowest level in U.S. history. Last year, the administration set a historically low refugee admissions goal at 45,000—in the face of the worst refugee crisis in global history. For nearly four decades, the average refugee admissions goal has been 95,000. Today, there are more than 25 million refugees worldwide—more than half of whom are children. Refugees are more than just a global figure; they are families torn apart, children who have witnessed profound violence, and people seeking a chance to rebuild their lives and raise a family in safety. Protecting vulnerable populations is not a zero-sum game; we can and should protect refugees and others fleeing violence or persecution. Refugee resettlement facilitates U.S. diplomatic, national security, and foreign policy interests.”
My heart breaks because I believe Jesus when he says this to his true followers:
So what do we do?
Here are some suggestions from Church World Service:
- Educate ourselves—Sign up for the CWS action alerts.
- Read or listen to some refugee stories—Here’s the list Lisa linked to in her post. Preorder my friend Shawn Smucker’s book Once We Were Strangers, about his friendship with his Syrian neighbor. (I can’t wait to read it!)
- Call your Senators & Representative today—Click here to be connected to your 2 Senators and 1 Representative. Here is an example of what to say: “I’m your constituent from [CITY/TOWN], and I urge you to protect the refugee resettlement program. I am outraged that President Trump has set a new historic low for FY 2019’s refugee admissions goal at 30,000. Protecting vulnerable populations is not a zero-sum game; we can and should protect refugees and others fleeing violence or persecution. Refugee resettlement facilitates U.S. diplomatic, national security, and foreign policy interests. The White House is also required to consult with Congress prior to setting the refugee admissions number, but they have not done so. Congress must act. I urge you to do everything in your power to see the administration resettle at least 75,000 refugees in 2019 and to stop the administration from further dismantling the resettlement program. My community welcomes refugees, and I urge you to reflect the best of our nation by supporting refugee resettlement.” It’s not too scary. Much of the time you get an answering machine; leave a message.
Speak up—Talk to your friends and family about it. Spread the word on social media (follow Church World Service, CWS Lancaster [for locals], and World Relief who are all working hard to welcome and advocate for refugees).
- Pray hard—I’m still using my paper star from Elliott as a daily reminder to pray for refugees, from Syria and beyond. Make your own star or some other reminder. Ask God to intervene. Better yet, ask God to use you and me to intervene.
- Ask God to bring a refugee into your life—Make connections. Talk to people. Share a meal. Hear their stories. Become friends.
I get busy. I get frustrated because I think my call or action doesn’t make a difference. I ignore the emails begging me to act. But God continues to call me to make a difference, to make a connection.
It’s past time to love our neighbors. Will you join me?