10 million to 1

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Imagine yourself in a foreign airport. You are just picking up your luggage from the one-way flight into a country you have never seen.

In that luggage is your entire life. Anything not within the weight-limited, security-inspected boundaries of those bags is no longer yours. You left home because it was no longer safe to stay there. You can never go back. Years of tenuous existence in a refugee camp further distanced you from the people and things of the life you once knew.

As you step into the arrival area, you can sense the palpable strangeness of this new place. You don’t speak the language or know the customs. The recognizable signs and signals of identity you are accustomed to no longer apply to these new people you see. Your inability to distinguish them makes it so they start to blend together as strangers often do. The nuances of your own identity fade away as well and you are reduced to being a ‘foreigner’.

And so your new life begins. Luckily you have a bit of help. Like a bright flashlight in the dark, there are those who reach out to help you navigate this disorienting place.

For eight refugee families, one of those people has been Jeffery Kirk. Since 2001, Jeffery has been working with his wife, their Lutheran church, and LIRS affiliate Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan to help welcome newcomers to his community.

He has now written a book that goes into exhaustive detail about the hard work of refugee resettlement. It’s clear from Kirk’s writing that refugee resettlement is rewarding work too. Motivated by Christian compassion and genuine interest in newcomers, Kirk lives God’s call to welcome the sojourner. He hopes more congregations and community groups will be inspired and equipped to walk with arriving refugees from the airport baggage claim area to true belonging as members of their adopted communities. Check it out, there is a great promotion going on Amazon today. www.10millionto1.com.

 

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