The Issues Behind the Issue of Family Separation at our Southern Border

Posted by Kaylee K on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 In : Unaccompanied Refugee Youth 
Over this past week my heart has grieved seeing the news of American border officials forcibly removing children from their families at the U.S. southern border. It is tempting, of course, to post responses full of emotion; I admit, I did this a bit on Facebook. However, I also researched to find out not only what is happening, but what got us here. The trail is not straight nor is it crystal clear. But what I continue to see is that we need to recognize the people behind the news, and behind...
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What Can One Church Do?

Posted by John K on Monday, April 2, 2018 In : Response 
As 2017 came to an end, I sensed that I should schedule time early in 2018 with The Sanctuary, a church-run ministry for refugees in Newport, Wales. Kaylee and I first visited last summer and the director, Mark, participates in our MUM Network. My goal was to be a help, but also to witness what one church can do as they go about their day-to-day work with refugees.


I arrived in Newport after my overnight flight and three-hour bus ride from London. Mark met me at the bus stop and we walked the ...
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Hope and Community for Refugee Youth

Posted by John K on Friday, March 30, 2018 In : Unaccompanied Refugee Youth 


Last month, during my week volunteering with our MUM network partner, The Sanctuary, in Newport, South Wales, I had opportunities to work with a variety of youth – who are in this case all boys. These young guys come to the center after arriving in Wales – many under 18, with no or limited English, and having traveled without family across many miles and sometimes many years. At times helping them is quite serious work, as they try to learn language, access services or prepare for their a...
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Responding to the Biblical Call

Posted by Kaylee K on Thursday, February 22, 2018 In : Response 


With almost 2 months behind us in 2018, not much has changed for the situation of unaccompanied youth in Europe. It doesn't seem 2018 will be much different than 2017 as borders remain closed and governments seem more focused on ways to reject asylum claims rather than help people in desperate need. However, we do recognize that the call to help "the least of these" or "the orphan and the widow" or "the foreigner" is a Biblical one not a political one. This is why we continue to focus on the ...
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Repaying Evil with Love... Crazy Love

Posted by Kaylee K on Thursday, February 15, 2018 In : Faith 
In the wake of the Parkfield, FL shootings it is again challenging to watch the news. It's challenging even to be on Facebook and see the polarized conversations. Or, honestly, for me it is sometimes more challenging to see selfies and trivial minutia posted when I know of the serious condition of our world. But then again, social media really is more a means of escape than a place for answers. So, where do we turn? How do we respond?



It seems to me that any human-offered solution is limited. ...
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2018 Goal? Shine On!

Posted by Kaylee K on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 In : Response 

It's been a very difficult year for the youth in Europe who arrived alone, i.e., without parents, seeking asylum. As borders closed, asylum procedures were drawn out, and care was withheld, many lost hope and some resorted to drugs, self harm and even suicide. When our network members share about some of these situations or I read another report of the horrific conditions in some of the camps and shelters, at times I'm brought to tears. However, I also get to hear from the folks we work with ...

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To App or Not to App, That Was the Question

Posted by Kaylee K on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 In : Response 
One of the objectives of our summer visits with ministries in Europe was to vet out the smartphone app that we had been hoping to develop with a goal of connecting unaccompanied youth with ministries that could help them along their travels. We achieved this, but with different results than we expected as we realized that this is not the timing for such an app.
Unfortunately, as many countries across Europe have closed their borders, movement between countries has dropped down to just a trick...
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The Power of Prayer

Posted by Kaylee K on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 In : Unaccompanied Refugee Youth 

9:36 Prayer Initiative for Unaccompanied Refugee Children


November focus:
For the week of the 12th-18th of November, will you join people around the globe in daily prayer for the 200,000+ unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and youth who are traveling alone through Europe? Simply set a daily calendar reminder for 9:36 a.m. and p.m. to remind you to pray for twice each day for these children.

Why 9:36 a.m./p.m.? In the Bible, the book of Mark, chapter 9, verse 36 tells us that “[Jesus] took...
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The Power of Connections

Posted by Kaylee K on Thursday, September 21, 2017 In : Unaccompanied Refugee Youth 


As I reflect on our visits with many individuals and ministries across Europe this summer, I am truly grateful for the connections we have made. I recognize that God has designed John and I both as connectors and He uses this in our ministry work almost daily. Again and again this summer, we were able to see how God wove together new relationships to help build out support programs for refugees...some having nothing to do with our own ministry but for the furthering of other work (which is aw...

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Job Creation to Combat Trafficking

Posted by Kaylee K on Thursday, September 21, 2017 In : Response 
This is an interview with John after we spent three months in Europe focused on collaboration and partnership building with refugee ministries and individuals.



Q, When you headed to Europe, what did you know about the impact of trafficking on unaccompanied refugee youth?
A. When we started our journey in May,
I sensed that trauma and the vulnerability to being trafficked were the issues I should focus on and learn about over the summer. I had contacted some global anti-trafficking organizatio...

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Blog Authors


John and Kaylee Kolditz Kaylee founded Refugee Connect in 2008. John joined the work in 2011 as we investigated the refugee situation in Europe. But our faith and cross-cultural journeys have been a work-in-progress for many years. Much of this blog reflects that. ************************************************ We met in Austin, TX, while volunteering at a serving event at Gateway Church and have been married since 2002. Marriage, parenting and ministry all require a great deal of intentionality, humility and true reliance on God for strength, wisdom, and grace. It is a journey we are grateful to be on together. Ultimately, what matters to us is building into meaningful relationships in ways that, to the best of our ability and by God's grace, demonstrate the love and hope Jesus freely offers to us all. ************************************************ We bring both business and ministry backgrounds into our current work. John started a business in his 20's and helped build several other businesses. He has also served with churches in a variety of roles including as an assistant pastor, director of community development, and missions board member. Kaylee left her marketing career to become the global missions director for our home church in Austin, TX, then founded a local refugee ministry, and became TEFL certified (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) in order to prepare for our work overseas. We have led short-term teams domestically and internationally, and served with a variety of cross-cultural ministries. In 2008, we sensed a call to build into the church in Europe, which was also around the time when God broke Kaylee’s heart for refugees. Since then, God has continued to weave together this heart for refugees, desire to serve alongside the church, and focus on His call to Europe.

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