As this year comes to a close, we at LIRS want to express our sincere gratitude for your ongoing support of migrants and refugees. We’ve seen churches and individuals across the country step up to welcome refugee families as new neighbors, advocate on local and national issues impacting refugees and migrants, and support LIRS’ work of the long welcome.
Here are a few highlights we’d like to share with you as we reflect back on a full year.
1. At the start of 2016, we asked for your help to stop a harmful bill that would have made it nearly impossible to welcome certain populations of refugees. Advocates tweeted at and called their Senators and we were thrilled to share that the bill did not receive enough votes to proceed in the Senate!
2. On the National Day of Prayer in May and throughout the year, many churches took time to specifically pray for refugee and immigrant families, unaccompanied children, and others in need of safety.
3. This June we again brought together a diverse and talented group of migrants and refugees for the LIRS Migrant and Refugee Leadership Academy. One Academy alum, Nyamal Tutdeal, shared about how the experience helped her learn to speak out and tell her refugee story.
4. At the National Youth Gathering of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, dozens of youth groups experienced a moving Syrian refugee simulation. In her own words, Katie Gowen shared how participating as a young adult volunteer profoundly affected her.
5. Finally, we celebrated with Rana Almishlib as she became a U.S. citizen and voted for the first time in a free and fair election. She even went to the polls early because she was so eager to exercise her newfound right to vote.
As people of faith, we stand up for the downtrodden and open our hearts and homes to the stranger. The work of welcome is done in church fellowship halls, at community events, and in personal relationships, and our work in 2016 wouldn’t have happened with out countless volunteers, advocates, and donors. We at LIRS are so thankful for your support.