IAFR was established in 2009 in response to the need for an international Christian non-profit agency devoted to the mission of helping people survive and recover from forced displacement. We do this in partnership with local churches, refugees churches and the church-at-large. At the time of our founding, we did not know that the world was on the brink of an unprecedented refugee crisis that would play a defining role in the 21st Century. We were established for such a time as this. Together with the church, we are a force for hope, healing and recovery in the world. IAFR is a registered charity (nonprofit) in Canada and the USA.
The work of IAFR flows naturally out of our relationship with Jesus Christ who taught us that the greatest of all commandments is to love God and our neighbor.
We affirm the Holy Scriptures, the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, to be the word of God and the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine and conduct.
We affirm that Jesus Christ is the divine atoning sacrifice for sin and that forgiveness from all sin, the righteousness of Jesus Christ, the indwelling Holy Spirit, citizenship in the kingdom of God, and everlasting life are among the life-transforming gifts freely received by God’s grace through personal faith in him.
We acknowledge our wholehearted dependency upon God. We seek God's direction, God's provision, God's power and God's presence in all we consider, attempt and accomplish.
Recognizing our participation in the mission of the church begun at the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we affirm our identification with the Apostle's Creed and the Nicene Creed.
Furthermore, we serve forcibly displaced people in the spirit of Best Practices for Christian Ministry among Forcibly Displaced People (Refugee Highway Partnership), Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World (WEA) and Welcoming the Stranger: Affirmations for Faith Leaders (developed at the request of UNHCR in 2013).
IAFR recognizes that refugee churches are uniquely situated to identify the needs of forcibly displaced people. They are well aware of the challenges and opportunities related to their context and often have clear vision and a compelling sense of mission. IAFR looks for opportunities to help refugee churches accomplish their mission.
Photo: A refugee church praying in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya.
As followers of Jesus are to be marked by hospitality to foreigners, local churches are called to be communities that welcome refugees. Their knowledge of the local language, culture, resources, and laws make them well-suited to helping displaced people integrate into their new society. The refugee crisis desperately needs churches to show up in ways that further hope, healing, and reconciliation in the world.
Photo: An IAFR partner church in Minnesota sending their greetings to refugee churches in Kenya.
Relationships of trust form the basis for all that we do. IAFR develops long lasting relationships with refugee churches and like-minded partners from which projects come and go. Our commitment to these relationships continues long after projects are completed.
Photo: IAFR missionary, Sharon Tonzo, visiting with a resettled refugee family in Atlanta.
Refugees are more than people in need. They are among the world's most resilient and resourceful people. Yes, we need to help them, but we also have much to learn from them. IAFR ministries promotes mutual blessing in all we pursue.
Photo: A short-term missionary sharing smiles with a refugee sister in Dzaleka refugee camp, Malawi.
The challenges and needs facing forcibly displaced people are overwhelming. No single agency has all it takes to meet these needs.
We compliment existing ministries and partner with refugees as well as like-minded churches and agencies, believing that we can accomplish more together than we can on our own.
Photo: Our US partner (Wheaton College) offering theological and trauma care training to our refugee partner in Kenya (United Refugee and Host Churches).
We are committed to demonstrating respect and affirming the dignity of forcibly displaced people. IAFR publications and media will represent them in honest, respectful and non-exploitive ways. We share IAFR publications, photos, videos, etc. with those featured in order to confirm that they feel respected and appropriately represented.
Photo: US church leaders listening to a refugee church leader in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya.
IAFR ministries and projects draw from resources available in the host country whenever possible. We seek to strengthen local economies and avoid creating dependencies upon foreign economies.
Photo: Pastors in Kakuma, Kenya, sharing their joy upon receiving a fresh shipment of Bibles. The Bibles were purchased from the Bible Society in Kenya.