These words are uttered frequently and passionately by JJ TenClay, who serves as the Refugee Ministries Coordinator for RCA Global Mission.
As the Refugee Ministries Coordinator, JJ comes alongside congregations, organizations, and communities as they seek to respond to the multifaceted crisis of forced migration. Over 71 million people are forcibly displaced worldwide, and that number will continue to grow, particularly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These individuals and families face complex trauma and are seeking welcome and a place to resettle their lives. Unfortunately, many meet closed doors and further unrest, rather than a welcome, due to increased xenophobia, over politicizing of issues, and misinformation.
JJ passionately believes there is a need to reclaim the theological and biblical perspective to welcome the stranger and to reconnect with immigration and migration stories within Scripture. From this lens, and by offering welcome, the vulnerability of this population decreases and their resiliency can be nourished. JJ shares that many of these individuals have a rich faith which helps sustain them in their perseverance for safety, security, and survival. By coming alongside refugees, communities can nourish spiritual, mental/emotional and physical health, offer job training, and facilitate language acquisition. In journeying together, all are able to celebrate and be blessed by the gifts, skills, resources, and passion of displaced people.
Story telling is a wonderful way to connect and learn more about the lives of migrant people and those with whom they walk. Through engaging with the “This is my story” project, all are able to see and affirm the image of God reflected. World Refugee Day is June 20, and can be celebrated in worship as a way to highlight the significance of refugee care. Refugee Ministries has compiled a digital toolkit that can be accessed here.
To learn more about JJ’s ministry, subscribe to newsletters, and find out how you and your community can get involved click here. You can also support financially with ongoing partner in mission shares or one time donations. To support this important ministry directly, consider donating to TenClay – Refugee Care.
For additional words of wisdom and call to action, check this out!