The IAFR Blog

Field notes, perspectives, stories, news & announcements

When the Stranger Welcomed the Host

Local Christians working together with asylum seekers to clean up a makeshift encampment in northern France (Photo: Paul Sydnor/IAFR)

Many asylum seekers in France are homeless. Some survive by creating makeshift encampments in remote fields or in abandoned buildings. Their tents and simple shelters offer little protection against the elements. There is often no local sanitation (toilets) or supply of clean water. Living conditions are primitive, insecure and dehumanizing.

IAFR's Paul Sydnor serves refugees and asylum seekers in northern France. He recently pulled together a team of 25 volunteers from the local community - including people from local churches - to partner with asylum seekers in cleaning up their makeshift camp.

After they finished cleaning up, a group of asylum seekers invited the volunteers to join with them in prayer.

Paul noted: "We gathered at one corner of the camp. It was the first time for most of the French volunteers to meet with asylum seekers who welcomed them."

This was more than a helpful cleanup day. This was a day of bringing the refugee and host community together. It was a day of re-humanizing those living on the vulnerable edge of society. It was a day in which the stranger invited the host to pray and worship the Living God together - all from the midst of a makeshift refugee camp.

The asylum seekers expressed how much the help meant to them:

It is so difficult to apply for asylum and survive at the same time. Thank you for your help. It shows us we are not alone.

This kind of ministry requires relationships of trust. It can't happen without missionaries like Paul who are walking alongside of refugees and asylum seekers every day looking for ways to strengthen hope and resilience in Jesus' name.

That's why IAFR's most valuable asset is our missionaries. Your financial partnership makes it possible for them to show up in the lives of refugees and asylum seekers in the Twin Cities, Atlanta, rural Colorado, northern France, Vienna, Athens, Kenya, and Malawi.

Would you consider making a special year end donation to support an IAFR missionary of your choice?

It's quick and easy - and makes a big difference in the lives of the forcibly displaced people we serve! Just click below and select a missionary from the list on our donate page.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE

Many thanks to our faithful and generous financial partners who make it possible for our team to show up in the lives of refugees and asylum seekers every day!

- Tom Albinson with Paul Sydnor

Post Link

Our Most Valuable Asset

A child born to an asylum seeking mother celebrates his birthday with one of his "grandmas" at Jonathan House.

SJ Holsteen is our IAFR Ministry Leader in the Twin Cities. She lives in one of our Jonathan House sites that provides temporary shelter for asylum seekers. She recently wrote...

I have five asylum-seeking housemates. They are mothers, sisters, and daughters made in God’s image and beloved of God. Their lives are marked by excruciating journeys marked by pain, loss, distance, courage, resilience, faith, and hope. Although they were once strangers of different faiths, languages, and cultures, while in Jonathan House, they have come to love and defend and care for each other as family (as evidenced by the above photo of my godson walking with his Jonathan House “grandma” during his birthday party this past summer).

In the midst of it all, I see laments voiced, prayers answered, trauma healed, hope restored, hints of shalom - all evidence of the reality that Jesus is making all things new.

This is what makes IAFR ministries so special. Not only do our missionaries provide desperately needed assistance, they offer life-giving friendships and supportive community.

Safe and supportive relationships are essential to recovery from forced displacement as they break isolation, nurture hope, strengthen resilience, and re-humanize our forcibly displaced friends.  

That's why IAFR's most valuable asset is our missionaries. Your financial partnership makes it possible for them to show up in the lives of refugees and asylum seekers in the Twin Cities, Atlanta, rural Colorado, northern France, Vienna, Athens, Kenya, and Malawi.

Would you consider making a special year end donation to support an IAFR missionary of your choice?

It's quick and easy - and makes a big difference in the lives of the forcibly displaced people we serve! Just click below and select a missionary from the list on our donate page.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE

Many thanks to our faithful and generous financial partners who make it possible for our team to show up in the lives of refugees and asylum seekers every day!

- Tom Albinson with SJ Holsteen

Post Link

IAFR | 1515 East 66th Street | Minneapolis, MN 55423 | info@iafr.org | 612.200.0321

Copyright © 2020 International Association for Refugees. All rights reserved.