What Does the Future Look Like?

Posted by Kaylee K on Thursday, August 10, 2017 Under: Response

As we sit in a flat in Paris watching the rain and listening to the sounds of the city, we're struck by the ups and downs of our travels this summer. We have met with a variety of ministries and individuals who are helping unaccompanied asylum-seeking youth as well as refugees. We’ve had some opportunities to spend time with the youth themselves. And, we’ve continued to learn about their ongoing challenges, the heartache for those left behind and the trauma resulting from awful situations they fled and sometimes harm that happened along their journey as well.

What strikes us most are three things:
  1. This is a tremendously complicated situation with no easy solution
  2. The local community (church et al) is the best equipped to understand how to help refugees and asylum seekers in their midst
  3. Each journey is very personal and each situation has intricacies that require relationship and time to really assess solutions and build into healing
What does this mean for our work? We are honestly still assessing this and we have another couple of weeks of meetings in Paris, Amsterdam and London that will impact some next steps as well. During this time John, in particular, will be exploring how entrepreneurial and micro-finance initiatives may open opportunities for young refugees.

For the near future, what we envision is…
  • We see fruitful connections coming out of our Mobilised for Unaccompanied Minors (MUM) Network. Our monthly calls continue to expand in participation and topics and we have added a Facebook group. Our in-person meetings have allowed us to deepen these relationships as well as our understanding of the context each ministry operates in. We pray that this work continues and that we’re able to see connections grow, ministries blessed and refugee youth further helped because of these connections. 
  • We also recognize that there are some models that are bearing fruit and we hope to be encouragers and connectors around these. Specifically, there are several foster-care type set ups in various countries that are growing and by connecting them we’re seeing a shared learning and potential for others to become involved. Secondly, we see the Welcome Center model truly blessing refugees and the community, and we desire to support several of them with resources, finances and prayer.
  • We will continue to raise awareness around the challenges and needs of unaccompanied youth who are on the move for a variety of reasons. Over the next six months we’ll be working with the Orphan Sunday initiative, the Refugee Highway Partnership European Roundtable, Google’s refugee job programs, the Lausanne Children on the Move action group, and World Without Orphans movement to provide materials and seminars.

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In : Response 

Tags: refugees  unaccompanied minors  faith  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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