A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending Friends of Refugees’ Fall Festival. It was an event to show appreciation for  those serving with the Embrace Refugee Birth Support and Jolly Avenue Garden programs. 

In addition to the volunteers, refugee families from the community joined into the event as part of the celebration. Our friends made the event bigger and better! 

Together we ate food, made crafts, took pictures and played festival games. Kids painted glitter onto autumn leaves. We all laughed with delight whenever someone got a “strike” in butternut squash bowling. As I surveyed the celebration, I couldn’t help but think that I was seeing a living picture of abundant life. 

That day is a microcosm of our work as a whole. At Friends of Refugees, we exist to welcome people who didn’t start life expecting to live in America. Few people grow up thinking they will become a Refugee. None of us get to choose whether we are the people fleeing or the people receiving those who are fleeing. Those circumstances are shaped by events far beyond any individual’s control. 

Here’s what we can choose: to act justly, to seek mercy and walk humbly in whatever circumstances God has us (Micah 6:8). Currently in America, this includes choosing to be people who joyfully and humbly welcome Refugee friends.

This is our great calling, and it’s our great privilege, too. I am sure that the Fall Festival would have been wonderful if only U.S.-born volunteers had shown up. It was far better because our community of new Americans showed up as well. 

It’s this vision that fills me with joy and anticipation as I think about what the future holds. When I joined Friends of Refugees, our team knew that the U.S. would plan to receive more Refugees in the coming year. Now, we know that the U.S. will welcome up to 125,000 in 2022 – more than 10x more arrivals than 2020. 

We are gathering friends who will welcome these new families with us. It means getting ready to move forward together, growing and dreaming together. 

Will you consider joining us? Your support can have a direct impact on a Refugee family, right now. 

As we move forward together, I welcome you as a friend who is journeying with us.

Kendra Jeffreys | Executive Director

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