Refugees – Helping at Home and Helping Elsewhere are not Mutually Exclusive
People are concerned about refugees. No doubt for good reason. We are living in the age with more refugees worldwide that at any time in human history.
Abilene, Texas is a city primed for responsible action, with three Christian universities, an air force base, and hundreds of churches. Abilene is also home to many nongovernment organizations with global reach, including the one I am privileged to direct, Global Samaritan Resources.
What is our response to refugees? Is doing nothing an option? Whatever we do must be done wisely, with an eye toward sustainability. Simply put, our actions have to be good for both the refugee and for our own children and grandchildren.
From time to time people will ask me, “Why don’t you help at home?” There are at least three answers to this question:
- We do… Global Samaritan sends more aid to Abilene than any city in the world. Yes, we are global, but our first place we help is right here at home.
- But… helping at home and helping elsewhere are not mutually exclusive. We can do both. We should do both.
- By helping the refugees who are in Iraq, we are actually helping here at home. The refugees from ISIS I met in Iraq don’t want to come to the US. They want to go home. If we don’t help them stay close to home, they will have to go somewhere.
We are helping refugees from ISIS stay safe and fed until “going home” is possible. The pessimist doubts it ever will be possible, the optimist thinks it’s right around the corner. The reality is we have no idea. But in the meantime, we have choices to make. Will we complain and do nothing, or will we help?
Helping at home and helping elsewhere are not mutually exclusive. Not long ago Global Samaritan partnered with Zion Lutheran Church here in Abilene to help feed hungry children here in Texas. And we are also sending millions of servings of fortified food to refugees in Iraq. Every box of food we send feeds a family of six for a month.
We are doing all this because we believe helping people is the greatest calling in life. We need to discuss these issues responsibly. In the absence of such discussions we are not advancing Christian thinking or wise solutions, both local and for people far away. Our response to people in need defines us. And our response creates a better future for all of us, both the helped and the helper.
I know many people are frustrated. Again, no doubt their frustration is for good reason. But rather than do nothing, we are doing something simple and significant.
And we invite you to join us.