Many people in today’s world are far from home, and the numbers can be striking. An estimated 89.3 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced from their homes last year (UNHCR). Immigrants and their U.S.-born children make up 26% of the U.S. population (Migration Policy Institute), and approximately one million international students study at U.S. universities each year (Statistia).
Whatever their reason for leaving their homes, the people who make up those numbers face many challenges as they build new lives.
Followers of Jesus have a chance to come alongside them to extend hospitality, care, and support. This has been an expanding ministry area for Brethren in Christ U.S. World Missions over the last year, and we continue to explore new ministry opportunities at home and around the world.
Caring for Refugees in Greece
As millions of refugees flee conflict in the Middle East, Greece is an important stop in many of their journeys. Facing uncertainty and instability, they need practical, emotional, and community support. We have sent several short-term teams to Athens to minister to refugees, build relationships with existing ministries, and see how we could serve there long-term.
Helping Immigrants in Michigan
Dearborn, Michigan is home to the largest concentration of Arabs in the U.S., many of whom are first- or second-generation immigrants. Acclimating to a new country brings unique challenges from navigating school systems to speaking a new language. Our work in the city has included both long- and short-term engagement; we have three short-term trips planned for 2023 and are hoping to deploy additional long-term workers.
Supporting International Students at Universities
More than one million international students come to the U.S. each year to pursue higher education at universities around the country, creating opportunities for Christ-like hospitality and outreach. We are excited to now have three households that are focused on working with these developing global leaders, supporting them as they are far from loved ones.
Caring for the needs of people far from home is close to the heart of BIC U.S. The words of Jesus echo through our desire to serve: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in … Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:35-40, selected)
Lord, may we be your hands and feet.