With all of the LIRS actions for World Refugee Day getting under way today, I’m pleased to share this incredible piece about Rev. Dr. Yohannes Mengsteab, Director of Ministry Programs of The Lutheran Foundation.
In his June 18 column for the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, “African Refugee Says Reform Bill is Good for Immigrants, Country,” Kevin Leininger quotes Rev. Mengsteab as saying: “It’s a myth these [immigrants] are a drain (on the budget). They are an economic engine of our country.”
Rev. Mengsteab, an LIRS board member, studied at Concordia College—New York and then went on to seminary at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. Following seminary he led a Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) congregation in Holland, Mich. He then went on to serve as missionary-at-large in Washington, D.C., before returning to St. Louis, where he founded the Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology and served as the LCMS director of African immigrant ministries.
The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel further quotes Rev. Mengsteab as saying:
We can’t leave the (immigration) doors wide open, but when you have 11 million people in hiding, they are vulnerable to exploitation and human trafficking, even in Fort Wayne. … If there is no bill passed, it will be tragic for this country. Those people aren’t going anywhere. From a Christian point of view, Scripture says we should welcome strangers . . .
Please read the entire piece and show your support by leaving a positive comment, promoting the piece via Facebook and other social media, and sending the link to your friends, colleagues, and family.
The UN says 7.6 million people became refugees in 2012, with the total number now higher than at any time since 1994. For those of you who read those numbers and are looking for ways to get involved in World Refugee Day (June 20), LIRS offers many resources. One great way to stand with refugees is by raising your voice today through our Action Center. You can also get your congregation involved by signing up for our free World Refugee Day kit, or honor our refugee leaders by attending tonight’s Walk of Courage Award Dinner. Tickets are available here.
We are grateful to Rev. Mengsteab for his devotion to immigrant and refugee causes, and to the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel for covering his important work!