September 3, 2021
Yesterday, World Relief joined forces with Women of Welcome and We Welcome Refugees to host a virtual Prayer and Action Town Hall, an event that focused on responses to the crises in both Afghanistan and Haiti.
Over 1,350 participants pre-registered for the town hall and many more tuned in on Facebook. The town hall featured speakers such as bestselling Christian author Ann Voskamp, World Relief President and CEO Myal Greene, and Women of Welcome Director Bri Stensrud.
The event was sponsored by World Relief, Women of Welcome and We Welcome Refugees. Each of the partners is engaging in additional response efforts: World Relief is leading an on-the-ground response to the earthquake in Haiti and resettling Afghans in various communities. We Welcome Refugees is sharing an advocacy tool to encourage governors to welcome Afghan refugees to their state, and has produced guides for engagement on the Afghanistan issue and Haiti response. Women of Welcome recently launched a new Bible study focused on “Bold and Brave” responses to refugees and other vulnerable immigrants that has already been downloaded more than 10,000 times.
Myal Greene, World Relief president and CEO, commented:
“I began my tenure as president and CEO of World Relief one day after Kabul fell to the Taliban and two days after Haiti was rocked by yet another devastating earthquake. As heartbreaking as the past few weeks have been, I am grateful for World Relief’s incredible staff, volunteers, partner churches and donors who have already come together and provided emergency shelter to more than 1,200 Haitian families, resettled hundreds of Afghans into communities throughout the United States and advocated for more just policies for our most vulnerable neighbors. Undergirding those efforts is a deep commitment to prayer, which is why we’re glad to have been able to host this town hall focused on both prayer and action.”
Ann Voskamp, author of four NewYork Times bestsellers, commented:
“Why should we care about Haiti and Afghanistan? Why does God care? Because those in need are our own family, and oppressed people are our people. Everyone is our own flesh and blood. Our theology is best expressed in our hospitality. As we sacrificially give, we are showing hospitality to God himself. Christ doesn’t identify with the power brokers, he identifies with the broken. If we persist in staying silent at a time of injustice and crisis, our own family will die. Our own Jesus died for more justice and shalom than this. There is hope for healing, for justice and for shalom to reign. A whole world of people will decide who Jesus is by who we are right now, and we get to be shalom makers in this world.”
Bri Stensrud, director of Women of Welcome, commented:
“Evangelical women are, like so many Americans, heartbroken by the devastation in Afghanistan and in Haiti, and our faith compels us to be a part of the solution. Women are mobilizing their church communities to respond to both crises and striving to practice Christlike welcome for Afghans who have begun arriving and are likely to arrive in larger numbers in the weeks to come.”
Jenny Yang, World Relief senior vice president of advocacy and policy, commented:
“Even as we eagerly begin welcoming Afghans who were able to be evacuated to rebuild their lives in the U.S., we’re not giving up on our advocacy for the tens of thousands of individuals still in Afghanistan whose lives are at risk under the Taliban. As a nation, we have a moral obligation to stand with those facing persecution, particularly for those whose lives and whose families’ lives are threatened because of their service to the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.”
Matthew Soerens, World Relief U.S. director of church mobilization and advocacy, commented:
“At the heart of the reason that Christians are concerned both with the plight of Afghans fleeing the Taliban and with Haitians rebuilding after a devastating earthquake is Jesus’ commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves, a mandate that Jesus makes clear applies to vulnerable people in need who may not share our nationality or religion. Through both prayer and tangible actions, Christians are mobilizing in remarkable ways to care for their Afghan and Haitian neighbors.”
James Misner, World Relief senior vice president of strategic engagement, commented:
“The response from local churches and individual Christians to both the earthquake in Haiti and to the evacuation and resettlement of Afghan allies has been absolutely overwhelming. In the midst of the darkness of these crises, Christians throughout the country are stepping up, giving sacrificially, offering their time as volunteers and their influence as advocates. And yet the need is greater still, so we’re thankful for today’s call to sustained prayer and action.”
Rick Everswick, Global Director, Hill Country Bible Church, Austin, Texas, commented:
“At our church, as in congregations throughout the United States, we’ve watched the devastating images of chaos in Kabul as vulnerable Afghans have sought to flee the Taliban. We’re committed to standing with those who were evacuated out and who will eventually be resettled to the US, and to continually stand in prayer and advocacy for those who were left behind. My prayer is that the church would arise in this moment to demonstrate the love and compassion of Jesus.”
A recording of the Town Hall is available here.
To download a PDF version of this press release, click here.
About World Relief
World Relief is a global Christian humanitarian organization that brings sustainable solutions to the world’s greatest problems – disasters, extreme poverty, violence, oppression, and mass displacement. For over 75 years, we’ve partnered with churches and community leaders in the U.S. and abroad to bring hope, healing and transformation to the most vulnerable.
Learn more at worldrelief.org.