In lieu of World Refugee Day, we want to share 3 important things with you:
- ICOM is initiating “The RISE Project” in 2016: which stands for, “The Refugee & International Student Engagement Project.” You can read all about it on our website, (http://theicom.org/rise/). ICOM President Mike Schrage and a group of other folks have been working diligently all year to create this initiative. The RISE Project is designed to grant monies to churches, missions, and campus ministries to reach out to people with refugee status and international students. So far, over $100,000.00 has been pledged to empower churches and ministries to reach out to the thousands of people entering as refugees and the one million international students on our university campuses. Many of the people coming to the USA are not Christians. This will be a great resource that churches can use for outreach.
- There is lack of true information in the media today. Much of the news we see about displaced people groups is driven by fear, a political agenda or a certain viewpoints. One thing we know is that the facts are friendly. Check out the United Nations Refugee Agency website below. They provide stats for refugees all over the world. Their website is a great resource for those interested in learning more! http://www.unhcr.org/en-us/figures-at-a-glance.html. Be informed about the whole process.
- The nations are coming to the United States! The truth is that the United States has been a melting pot of cultures for many decades. There has been an increasing number of people groups, resettling refugees, and international college students in our midst, maybe more than you realize. We no longer “have to” take trips for a cross cultural experiences or to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with people who were born into a country without it – they are coming to us! We need to take advantage of this! Reach out to those in your community who might need the love of Christ in their lives. Even if your area does not have any refugees or international students, commit to praying for displaced families all over the world & the students attending college inside the United States.
We have some great videos that have been done by experts in the field. Traci Harrod & Greg Swinney have both done videos that talk about displaced people groups as well as international students in the United States. If you click on their name, their video will play. You can also find them on the RISE Project page on our website. http://theicom.org/rise/ These videos will enlighten and inform you about so many aspects of this cultural shift we are seeing in so many parts of world
If you want to make a donation towards the RISE Project, you can do that on our website as well. This Project will make such an impact all over the nation for those who are working in these fields and reaching out to their neighbors and communities. We are grateful to CO:MISSION Foundation, for being our resource to collect and hold these funds. Co:MISSION is a non-profit group that will turn non-cash items(stock, property, assets, etc) into monies so that it can be distributed.
There will be many more details and resources being prepared for ICOM including a small group study series, training videos, sermon outlines and more. At ICOM a number of churches will be sharing in workshops about how they got started working with resettled people groups in their community.