A Practical Guide to Meeting the Needs of Refugees and Immigrants – Part One
Have you ever traveled on a plane? Air travel makes it possible, in a matter of a few hours, to be in an entirely different country, surrounded by sights, sounds, and smells you’ve never experienced before. While technological advancements allow us to easily move between locations physically, it can take decades for our hearts and minds to navigate that same distance. Cognitively and emotionally, it takes time to catch up and adjust to our new surroundings. And, the older you are the longer it will take to make the adjustment.
For some, the heart and mind never catch up. For most it happens, though, with great difficulty.
The greater the challenge a person faces, the greater the support that person needs. In fact, if there isn’t enough support, the person can become calloused and cold. And if there’s great support and no challenge, the person grows in apathy. Yet, when the support and challenge are balanced, the possibilities for that person are endless.
Over the next two weeks, my goal is to share information that enables you to support the immigrants and refugees transitioning into your community during their first month, first year, and first 5 years in a new place. I invite you to prayerfully consider the role God wants you to play in the lives of your new community members.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I know it is not by accident that you have brought me here to read these words, and for that I thank you and trust you. Lord, help me to remember that learning to live in a new place is hard. Learning the ways others speak, think, and just do life can be so very exhausting. Remind me that everyone else’s “normal” is very different from my “normal”; their “common sense” is vastly different from my “common sense”. Help me to trust that you are going to be with me as I open my heart, my mind and my home to people from other parts of the world! Amen.