The nations are here

May 2016 - Community
by Rachel Hust

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May 2016 - Community

The current refugee crisis may seem far removed from daily life in Columbia, but volunteers at Columbia Crossroads Church, 2723 Ashland Road, are ministering to refugees in their own backyard. On Thursday nights from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., Andrea Wegener and Jomona Williamson co-lead an English as a Second Language ministry for local refugees who have resettled in Columbia.

By definition, refugees are people who have been forced to flee their home countries because of a well-founded fear of persecution due to race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.

The majority of refugees who attend classes at Crossroads are Burmese or Congolese. Some have been in the United States for several years, while others have been here for only a few months. They are escaping many years of armed conflict and unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo and a history of human rights abuses and an unsettled government in Myanmar (Burma).

“Many, if not most, of our students have suffered in their home countries and refugee camps before arriving on our doorsteps,” explains Williamson. “We don’t pry, but when they share their stories, they are heartbreaking.”

The idea of an ESL ministry at Crossroads began in 2014 after a noticeable number of internationals attended a church Easter egg hunt.

Why did Christ die for you?

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