2018 Goal? Shine On!

Posted by Kaylee K on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 Under: 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 about how they've helped youth get into school, their interest in John working with some of the young guys who desire to start a small business, that some of their young friends have finally gotten their asylum claim accepted, some are sharing their musical talents and others are continuing to create their art, and some have come to be a part of the church community because they were so moved by the Christians who cared for them along their journey. So, despite how dark the situation often seems for these youth, we continue to have hope in what a welcoming community can do to bring light into it.

Honestly, our vision for these youth is big and it is inspired by their vision for their own lives. For starters, in 2018, we desire that all unaccompanied asylum-seeking youth across Europe have a safe place to live, are welcomed into community, receive care for their mental and physical health, can access education or contribute to the local economy through a job, and have the guidance and support they need while they await decision on their asylum claim. For our part, we believe that engaging and equipping the Church is an effective means for meeting these goals.

Specifically, we will work to grow the MUM network to include ministries from every country in Europe where unaccompanied refugee youth travel. Additionally, we seek to actively engage churches across Europe in discerning God’s call for them to welcome the orphan and the foreigner, and to respond by caring for unaccompanied minors in their communities and speaking up for them when/as needed. Finally, we desire to equip the ministries that work with these youth with materials that help them develop healthy relationships, care for their needs, offer opportunities for education or work, and share the hope that Jesus offers in ways that transform the lives of these youth so that they no longer feel alone and lost.

Darkness cannot exist where the light shines. Our goal for 2018 then? Shine on!

In : Response 

Tags: refugees  church  hope  europe 

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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