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Welcome Welcome Welcome

I was walking through Dzaleka refugee camp (Malawi) with IAFR COO, Tim Barnes.It was hot and the wind was whipping sand and dirt into our eyes. I heard a small voice clear her throat behind us. For some unknown reason, I hit the record button on my camera as I turned around to see who was there. This is what we saw.

Welcome! (to Dzaleka refugee camp) from IAFR on Vimeo.

That little refugee girl made my day. She whole heartedly welcomed us into her space. Such a welcome is remarkably life giving.

I couldn't help but think that while she joyfully welcomed us into her space, the world outside of the refugee camp refuses to welcome her and offer her a place in which she can recover from forced displacement and rebuild her life. The average duration of forced displacement is over 17 years.

I pray for the day that the world in which I live will one day sing her song to her.

Welcome! Welcome! Welcome! Welcome!
I love you!

-Posted by Tom Albinson

Artist partnership

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

-Emma Lazarus

Thank you to visual artist, Sarah Nelson, and Auslandish Co. for creating this beautiful image of welcome and refuge. Auslandish Company will donate 50% of their sales profit of this piece to IAFR.

"Lady Liberty" is part of Auslandish Company's "Good in the World" art series related to current events.

Check out Auslandish Co. today to learn more and to order prints.

Volunteer Training

Photo: 200 people attended last night's volunteer training in Minneapolis

Last night IAFR President, Tom Albinson, and former refugee Pastor Gatera, were featured speakers at a volunteer training of our friends at Arrive Ministries, a World Relief affiliated refugee resettlement agency. Around 200 Christians in the Twin Cities came to Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis to learn about refugee life before and after resettlement to the US.

Pastor Gatera was longtime Chairman of United Refugee and Host Churches (URHC), our partner organisation in Kakuma refugee camp in remote northwestern Kenya. He and his family spent 20 years in the camp before being resettled to the Twin Cities last September. [Click here to learn more about IAFR's ministry in Kakuma.]

Pastor Gatera shared how refugees struggle with issues related to security, health, education, employment, food and injustice on a daily basis. He told of how hopelessness and a loss of dignity weigh people down. "Refugees feel as if they are nothing."

He also shared his experience as the US vetted his application for resettlement - a process that took 14 years. He told of refugee expectations of life in their country of resettlement. They expect their dignity to be restored, to live in safety and have access to good healthcare, freedom of movement and acceptance by their new community. They anticipate that hope will be restored. "But what happens when they come here and their hope drops again?"

Upon arriving in the US, Pastor Gatera shared how refugees battle with loneliness, culture shock, and overwhelming paperwork.

He asked the volunteers to not give up on the people they serve, even when it is difficult. He emphasized community and belonging are essential to recovery from forced displacement.

12,460 Bibles

Thanks to our partners at Tyndale House Publishers, 12,460 of these Bibles have arrived in Kenya. IAFR donated 400 of them to the staff of National Council of Churches Kenya (NCCK),  our friend and partner agency in Kenya. We received word that the rest (of the Bibles 12,060) arrived in Kakuma last Thursday. They will be distributed among refugee Christians by our refugee partner, United Refugee and Host Churches. We thank God for this wonderful provision! May God bless these Bibles and use them to strengthen faith and hope among the believers in Kakuma!

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