Helping Unaccompanied Refugee Youth
Prayerfully, Together: The Church Can Help Refugee Children
Posted by Kaylee K on Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Under: Unaccompanied Refugee Youth
Nearly 100,000 refugee children are traveling to and across Europe without a parent or guardian. Despite their recognition as the most vulnerable population within the millions of asylum seekers on the Refugee Highway, there has been little coordinated assistance, and many challenges to establishing such assistance, to ensure their safety and care as they travel from their home country to their destination country in Europe.
Several months ago, I felt a very strong leading to research this situation with an eye for where gaps exist that church communities can fill. The result was an outline of proposed responses. I have been amazed by the amount of positive feedback on this outline and the ways that individuals and ministries in the U.S. and Europe are expressing interest in being involved. Praise God, because he is truly opening doors I did not even know to knock on.
Here's what many of us (and many more are needed) are now working towards:
Global Movement of Prayer on behalf of refugee children
Network of ministries and churches across Europe to help provide connectivity of care along the travel routes for unaccompanied children
App for unaccompanied children identifying churches along their route that will provide assistance and serve as a point of contact for family trying to find these children, i.e., check-in and care “centers”
Awareness, Engagement and Advocacy Campaign to share empowering information and stories of hope about unaccompanied children. Goal is to provide ways to advocate for these children within each country and connect with ways to give and serve.
Toolkit for churches of resources that will enable them to help the refugee children in their midst with physical needs but also in establishing community and affirming hope.
I am so humbled and moved that God is allowing me to be a part of this work on behalf of the children. So much is needed and we trust His provision. How is it that the Church can respond effectively? Prayerfully, together.
Unaccompanied Refugee Youth
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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.
Refugee Stories (4)
Unaccompanied Refugee Youth (6)
unaccompanied refugee children