Each week we are asking our congregation to be in prayer for one of our supported missionaries or local mission agency. This week we ask that we each bring refugees and our church’s vision for demonstrating God’s love to refugees to God in prayer.
Almost every day the national and international news reports provide insight into the plight of people who have been forced to flee their homes, for refugee and aslyee children having to live in transit and insecurity without adequate access to education, medical care or carefree play. And it isn’t clear that our country has remained a safe haven for refugees; government policies don’t seem to reflect compassion for asylum seekers, principles of family unity, or respect for a person’s God-given dignity. So we ask that you pray for refugees and ask God to move in powerful ways to bring peace to people in crisis.
Then we ask that you pray for our church’s ministry to refugees who live in the Fox Valley. Paul and Cheryl Bengtson have been tutoring two children from one family. They report that their weekly visits in their home allowed a wider relationship with others in the family. And while the pandemic has pretty much shut down face-to-face contact, they have been able to offer help and encouragement through phone, texting and mailing educational materials to the kids. Paul asks us to pray for these friends – these confusing and challenging times are compounded for this hard-working refugee family. Finding work for the adult son, language barriers, and cultural questions make it difficult to function.
In the recent past we have had small groups extending friendship to specific families; we are currently not visiting with families as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the completion of those arrangements with World Relief. However, we have opportunity to help World Relief with a “Kids Virtual Summer Club.” The approach will be to meet virtually with groups of kids in June and July, transitioning from the school year to summer e-learning as seamlessly as possible. Volunteers will help distribute weekly packets throughout the summer, meet with kids in small groups for tutoring, and meet one-on-one with students once a week virtually. In addition there will be opportunity to help assemble bags to support various activities. Pray that this alternative approach will not only make the best of a hard situation but also be something really valuable.