Syrian Refugee Crisis

A Unique Moment for the Church


Since the presidential election in the United States on Tuesday, we’ve received many questions from church leaders and other concerned friends regarding the path ahead for World Relief’s work with refugees and immigrants. While this aspect of our work is only one part of our larger global mission to empower the local church to stand with the vulnerable—including our aid and development work in communities throughout Africa, Asia and the Middle East—we believe that this is a unique moment for the Church.

Tuesday’s election concluded a presidential campaign season that was uniquely divisive. That division is being felt within the U.S. Church as well. Despite differing on political issues, however, what can and needs to unite followers of Jesus is our commitment to living out His commands and the teachings of Scripture. While we respect and collaborate with governmental authorities, our ultimate trust is in God, who “watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow” (Psalm 146:9 NIV). Throughout the Old and New Testaments, followers of God are repeatedly called to “do what is just and right; rescue the oppressed from the power of the oppressor, [to not] exploit or mistreat the refugee, the orphan, and the widow” (Jeremiah 22:3 CEB).

The Church is called to “practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13 NIV)—literally, to practice loving strangers—mindful that Jesus Himself was once a child refugee, forced to flee from a tyrannical genocide. Whenever we welcome one of “the least of these” in Jesus’ name, we welcome Him (Matthew 25:40).

That’s why—even as we anticipate the impending Presidential transition in the U.S.—World Relief’s mission remains to empower the local church to serve the most vulnerable, including the displaced and the persecuted.

As has been the case for decades, today teams of World Relief staff and volunteers from local churches in cities, suburbs, and small towns throughout the United States will be gathering beds, sofas, and household items to furnish new apartments for arriving refugees. At airports across the country, our teams will welcome newcomers who are weary from their travel and nervous as they arrive in a country and culture they have never known. Our staff and volunteers will walk alongside these newly arrived refugees, helping them to rebuild their lives.

Many refugees and other immigrants feel uniquely vulnerable right now. We believe that this represents a unique moment for the Church. Today, local churches have the opportunity to demonstrate moral courage by standing with the vulnerable in new and unprecedented ways—offering a warm welcome, a reassuring smile, practical assistance, and consistent advocacy for more compassionate policy towards carefully vetted refugees and their families.

We deeply value our longstanding relationship with the U.S. State Department, and we look forward to working with the new administration to welcome and resettle refugees, just as we have with the past six presidential administrations. And regardless of the course the new administration sets, World Relief’s mission remains the same—to empower the local church to serve the most vulnerable.

President Reagan once called the U.S. “a shining city on a hill” for those searching for freedom. On one hand, we ought to be proud of our country’s history as a beacon of refuge for those fleeing persecution, and we pray that the brightest moments of our national history of welcoming refugees and immigrants are still ahead of us.

But we must also remember that when Jesus first spoke of “a city on a hill” (Matthew 5:14), he was not speaking about the United States. Rather, Jesus was addressing His personal followers, those who would become the earliest Church.

In the face of the greatest global refugee crisis in recorded history, World Relief’s prayer is that the Church—the largest social network on the planet—will seize this unique moment, letting its light shine like a city upon a hill, so that millions of displaced people around the world will find great love and compassion—both of which are at the heart of God.

Please donate today to help us seize this unique moment to serve refugees, immigrants, and the vulnerable around the world.

Who is a refugee and what do they go through to get to the U.S.?

Who is a refugee and what do they go through to get to the U.S.?

A refugee is someone who has fled one's home country and cannot return because well-founded fear of persecution based on religion, race, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.

Acceptance. Friendship. Hope: Good Neighbor Teams go beyond supplying material needs to refugees

 Churches and small groups around the country are mobilizing into Good Neighbor Teams to serve newly arriving refugee families for a period of six to 12 months—supplying material needs like food, clothing, and transportation, and tangible services like school registration, community orientation, job preparation and English tutoring.

A Christian Conversation about Refugees | Refugee Crisis

Like a tsunami, waves of terror from the Paris attacks are crashing upon American shores. Valid questions pour in about the U.S. refugee resettlement screening process. 

World Relief CEO Stephan Bauman Calls for Every American Congregation to Welcome a Refugee Family

EVERY AMERICAN CHURCH CONGREGATION SHOULD WELCOME A REFUGEE FAMILY “The American church is ready and willing to extend open arms to those fleeing war and terror in the Middle East. Whether it’s hosting refugees in our own country, or supporting churches serving them in other countries, the American church has chosen to act.” Stephan Bauman, World Relief

Empowering Refugee Families in Washington

Sameer Qadoora has been a refugee since birth. As a child, his family fled violent conflict in present-day Israel and became citizens of Iraq. It was in Baghdad that he eventually met his wife, Hanan. In 2006, Sameer and Hanan were forced to flee when militants pursued Sameer for unknown reasons. With two children already, Hanan was eight months pregnant. The Qadoora family sought refuge in Jordan but were denied access by guards. The family hid in a mosque near the border until the Red Cross intervened and allowed Hanan, whose due date was fast approaching, to enter Jordan.  Hanan gave birth to a healthy baby boy but remained separated from her family for several months. Their only option was to be transferred to a refugee camp just inside the Iraq-Syria border. The family spent six years in this dangerous, ill-equipped cluster of tents located in the middle of a harsh desert. Their life in the camp was one marked by continuous waiting.

Qadoora Family story

In August 2012, the waiting was over. The Qadooras packed up what little they had and boarded a UN charter bus that would take them to the airport and then the United States. World Relief had the privilege of resettling the Qadoora family in Kent, Washington; however, a local Church played a vital role in the process. Church volunteers welcome refugees the minute they arrive at the airport and provide volunteer services and resources necessary for refugees to establish self-sufficiency in their new home. They share the Gospel with vulnerable refugees through word and deed.

Now, the boys are in school. Hanan meets weekly with a volunteer, Anna, who helps her practice English. Sameer works part time at a local printing press and is currently working with the World Relief employment team to find a full-time job. When asked what they think of their new home, Hanan said, “When I came here, it changed my life. I’m so happy here, so happy to see your faces.”

Story taken from World Relief Seattle

Empower vulnerable refugees entering the United States.

Hope for Syrian Refugees | Refugee Crisis

Hope for Syrian Refugees | Refugee Crisis

Women and children comprise three-quarters of the refugee population and they are a particularly vulnerable group with unique needs. Women and girls have limited access to social protection and services and are at risk for various prevalent forms of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)

Thankful for Refugee Resettlement Volunteers

With the arrival of Thanksgiving, World Relief is excited to celebrate in thankfulness the thousands of volunteers and hundreds of churches volunteering time and resources to assist with refugee resettlement in the United States. Over the past 35 years, World Relief’s U.S. offices have resettled over 250,000 refugees from more than 80 nations. For every office, volunteers play an invaluable role in serving newly arrived refugees by providing mentorship, friendship and general assistance with transportation and navigating life in their new communities.

Welcoming refugees in the United States

Welcoming refugees in the United States

The following testimonials are taken from volunteers at World Relief’s Sacramento office, which has been resettling refugees since 1982. While powerful, these are just a few of many stories about the mutual transformation occurring in Refugee Resettlement across the country.

Apartment Setup Volunteer - What can I say about the rewarding experience of working with World Relief and the refugee program? It started with nothing more than volunteering to deliver a meal to whomever the church said needed one. It has since grown into collecting and sorting donated household items and buying, as wisely as possible, whatever else is needed, along with setting up apartments and bringing the incoming families to these apartments. Although the above actions are exciting and enjoyable for me, the area of volunteering I look forward to the most is ongoing relationships with the new families. This Includes taking them to appointments, grocery shopping and doing anything I can to make them feel welcomed and loved in their new home. I have made several mistakes in all of these opportunities and yet the graciousness and thankfulness of the families keeps me motivated to continue serving them. What an easy way for us to share God's love and follow His command to go and make disciples. We don't have to go to the 'outermost regions' as some are called to do. Instead God has brought them to us. Thank you World Relief for your ministry.

“Road Runner” (Driver) Volunteer - With World Relief, I have been pleased to have the opportunity to assist refugees with some of their initial needs upon their arrival in Sacramento. The experience with World Relief has impressed upon me the vulnerability of these newcomers and the importance to them of volunteers and others that help them. From the comments of several of the refugees I've met, transportation is one of the challenges they face in Sacramento, as they don't initially have their own cars and find public transportation, including school buses, to be limited.”

ESL Instructor - When a beginning ESL student first walks into my classroom, they can usually tell me their name, but not spell it. Beyond that, their English may consist of some common nouns and verbs strung together with no connector words to give grammatical sense to the sentence. As the teacher, that first day of Beginning ESL is a challenge. I don't know anything about my students. They don't know anything about me. The only way to get there, save for Google Translate, is by learning English. One of the most exciting moments in my classroom was a few weeks into our semester when I looked at the board and saw, not words or pictures, but twenty sentences that the students wrote themselves with their peers. As they wrote, they debated over the grammar and spelling and content of what they wanted to say and broke into fits of laughter when someone made a funny comment or mistake. I was overwhelmed when I realized that in only a few short weeks, we had moved from only communicating in smiles and hand gestures and being isolated from one another to talking to each other about our families, hobbies, clothes, likes and dislikes, and home countries. The students had built relationships with people from other cultures who didn’t speak their languages and had taught me about their own cultures and lives. Seeing this transformation helped to underscore the reason I teach them English. It is not about correct grammar or spelling, though those are important. It is about building relationships.

World Relief is thankful and proud to work alongside the empowered Body of Christ and thousands of volunteers across the United States as we join hands to serve vulnerable, newly-arrived refugees!

“We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

Volunteer with Refugees in the U.S

Volunteer with Refugees in the U.S