“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers…
Seeking opportunities to welcome newcomers is a godly trait, and hospitality is a spiritual gift. With over one million international students and visiting scholars in our country and potentially 85,000 arriving with refugee status in 2016, what is the Lord’s expectation of His Church regarding this opportunity? (These numbers do not include the millions of immigrants who have come to this country with or without documents.)
International students come expecting to learn. They are curious about all things American and want to experience it all, both the good and the bad. They come from the upper class in their societies and in many cases are gifted intellectually and highly connected socially. Research indicates that fifty percent of the world’s future heads of state will attend an American university. Sadly, most of them during four years of study will not spend one evening in a Christian home!
Refugees have another story, one of incredible perseverance and resiliency in the face of unimaginable persecution, trauma, and loss. They were forced to leave their home countries, displaced out of necessity, and separated from their family units. They ache for security and community, a place of belonging in which their many strengths and talents will be welcomed.
The Refugee and International Student Engagement (RISE) Project calls on the Church to mobilize and seize the unique opportunities we have in our own country. Through awareness, education, and implementation, the Church can go and make a difference without a passport or learning a new language! This opportunity is growing larger and greater every year. Our ability to go to the ends of the earth has never been easier.
The RISE Project is an initiative of ICOM (International Conference on Missions) to raise funds, which will enable this awareness, education, and implementation to occur. Imagine a way for churches to quickly find ideas about simple ways to show hospitality to those who have come as students and as new neighbors, to offer companionship, cultural inclusiveness, and even the love of Christ to these special guests!
The goal of RISE is to raise $250,000 to distribute through grants to churches and ministries who are willing to reach out and welcome those who have arrived as refugees or international students. As expert practitioners inform and train us, we hope to start a new conversation about these open doors, to rise up and embrace this sacred opportunity to represent the welcoming heart of Jesus to those who have come so far.
…for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews13:2NIV)
To donate to The RISE Project
ICOM is partnering with Co:Mission Foundation to facilitate gifts of cash and non-cash assets to The RISE Project Fund. This special account at Co:Mission Foundation will provide professional oversight and management of money earmarked for the RISE Project.
For information about how Co:Mission Foundation can help you make a cash or non-cash gift to The RISE Project Fund, please contact David Duncan, Executive Director at 855.266.4774 or email him at:
To donate by check,
all checks should be made out to:
With The RISE Project Fund in the memo line.
Checks should be mailed to:
The RISE Project Fund
2050 Main Street, Suite 400
Irvine, CA 92614
To donate online: