Field notes, perspectives, stories, news & announcements
Did you know that IAFR was registered as a nonprofit in Minnesota twelve years ago?
Prior to that day, I had spent 28 years serving refugees with two traditional mission agencies. During that time, it became clear that refugee ministry was not missions as usual and that it wasn't a natural fit within mission agency structures. I had a growing conviction that there was a need for an international mission agency specifically designed for ministry in refugee contexts.
There are gaps and needs in most refugee contexts to which the Church is well suited to respond. For the Church is made up of local faith communities that, when healthy, are a much needed force of hope and healing in the world.
After consulting with a Kenyan brother serving with the UN Refugee Agency and a Nigerian colleague serving among Somali refugees in Kenya, a vision began to emerge that ultimately became IAFR.
When we registered, IAFR consisted of two board members and me. Our sole ministry location was in Dzaleka refugee camp, Malawi, where we partnered with a long-time friend and former refugee from Burundi.
It turns out that we had no idea what was coming. The number of forcibly displaced people worldwide has doubled from 41 million in 2009 to 82.4 million today.
Nor did we know that God was stirring up a global movement within the Church to welcome and serve refugees and asylum seekers. Many churches would soon be looking for help in pursuing such ministry.
God has grown our team to 33 full-time missionaries today. We currently serve in northern France, Vienna, Athens, Kenya, Malawi, northern Colorado, Atlanta, and the Twin Cities. We will soon establish a new ministry along the US/Mexico border.
Of course, none of this could happen without people like you who pray, volunteer, and financially partner with our missionaries, projects, and Sustaining Fund.
There are many places on the Refugee Highway where the Church still needs to show up in life-giving ways. We sense God is calling us out to new crossroads along the refugee highway.
We are encouraged to have many people inquiring to serve with us in long and short term capacities. But the reality is we have more inquiries than we have opportunities for placement!
Our main limiting factor is a shortage of leaders who are willing and able to do the hard work of pioneering new IAFR ministry locations.
And so we ask you to join in prayer with us! Please pray that God would call such people into this ministry - and that God would have them cross our path. We know that they are out there. They just need to find us.
Would you take a moment and ask yourself if anyone you know may be interested in such ministry? And if God brings anyone to mind, would you forward this blogpost to them? Or perhaps encourage them to follow us on Facebook or Instagram (@iafrefugees)?
Who knows? You might be the catalyst that brings hope and healing to refugees where it is needed most!
- Tom AlbinsonOpen Post
You are visiting our blog because you care about refugees and asylum seekers.
We want you to be the first to know that we just updated our core resources designed to help people get better informed about what is going on in the world of refugees.
The new version of IAFR's Introduction to the Refugee Highway video (above) offers a global perspective of refugee realities along with biblical perspective - all in just 6 minutes. You can stream it - or even download it if you like.
We encourage you to consider sharing it on social media. Perhaps your church would be interested in watching it too? It's ideal for stimulating small group discussions.
We have designed memes like the one above to help people get better informed about refugee realities in the world today.
We hope that you will take advantage of them as you advocate on behalf of refugees and asylum seekers.
Let's create space in the hearts and minds of others for refugees!
You can find all of our memes in the IAFR Toolbox. It's easy! Just copy them from our website and share them on social media.
- Tom AlbinsonOpen Post
IAFR | 1515 East 66th Street | Minneapolis, MN 55423 | email@example.com | 612.200.0321