Catch Up on 2021 Community Conversations

As we seek to learn, engage, and grow to be more like Christ in our welcome, we are stepping into brave conversations. We want to give you opportunities to learn along with us from leaders in immigration and refugee issues, from others in the community, and from immigrants themselves. This year, these 8 community conversations helped us learn more and get involved. Take some time and catch up on any you missed before we dive into 2022!

We know how heated and emotional conversations about immigration can become. Our responses can range from fight to flight to freeze as we seek to share our heart for immigrants and refugees and invite others to respond with welcome, too. We talked with Brittani Farrington, a former Debate Coach at Wheaton College and a member of our Women of Welcome team, to learn more about how we can engage in brave conversations with confidence and grace. Don’t miss this conversation in which we discuss how to engage well in productive conversations.

Catch this conversation with Dr. Michelle Reyes, a contributor to our Bible study Christ-like Welcome. Dr. Reyes is the vice president and co-founder of Asian American Christian Collaborative, as well as a church planter, pastor’s wife, author, speaker, and activist in Austin, Texas. In 2014, Michelle and her husband co-planted Hope Community Church, a minority-led multicultural church that serves low-income and disadvantaged communities in East Austin. She also serves as the local CCDA Austin Networker. She is the author of Becoming All Things: How Small Changes Lead to Lasting Connections Across Cultures. She addresses fears of culture change and we discuss practical steps for connecting across cultures.

You’ve heard about DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and the Dreamers who benefit from the program. You’ve read the headlines about policies and the need for legislation to allow Dreamers to pursue citizenship. But what’s it really like to be a Dreamer? Tune into this conversation with Nori. Hear directly from her about what it’s like living with uncertainty about her future. She shares about immigrating to the U.S. and later learning she didn’t have legal status. How has it affected her family, her hopes and dreams, and how she sees others? Where has she seen God at work in her life?

We know that following your compassion and choosing welcome means stepping out of your comfort zone. How do we get past the fear and do bold and brave things? Join us for our conversation with Jessica Honegger, Founder and co-CEO of Noonday Collection, author of Imperfect Courage, and host of the Going Scared Podcast. When Jessica witnessed the realities of global poverty first hand, she began to understand the power of entrepreneurship as a sustainable solution to poverty. She began Noonday, which partners with Artisan businesses, empowering them to grow sustainably and to create dignified jobs for people who need them. Jessica shares what she has learned from running one of the fastest-growing and most successful fair-trade companies in the U.S. with us and how we can take step out and take brave steps.

So many of you have asked how to help with the influx of migrant children at our southern border. The images of overcrowded immigration processing centers is heartbreaking and we want to know more. So we talked with Bethany Christian Services’s President & CEO Chris Palusky to address concerns and answer your questions about:
1) safety and resources
2) current processes and policies
3) transitional foster families
4) ways to help if you can’t foster.

What drives people to migrate to the United States? What happens to them if they have to return to their home countries? How can we help them in their home countries? We had a conversation with Jo Ann Van Engan about these complicated questions. Jo Ann Van Engen is a co-founder of the Association for a More Just Society (ASJ) and has lived in Honduras for 30 years. She served as a professor and co-director for the Honduran Justice Studies semester abroad program of Calvin College, along with her husband Kurt. The team at ASJ strives to be brave Christians, dedicated to doing justice in Honduras and to inspiring others around the world to seek justice in their own contexts.

What can we do in our daily lives to create welcome for immigrants and refugees? How can we activate our compassion to engage meaningful change? We had a conversation with Kitti Murray about how her faith and compassion led her to welcome and serve refugee neighbors resettling in the small town where she lived outside of Atlanta. She joined hands with neighbors to start Refuge Coffee Co., which has been featured on CNN, NBC Nightly News, American Voices, Food & Wine magazine, and NPR’s The Salt. Join us as we talk with Kitti to hear her story and how you can activate your compassion to welcome others.

Here at Women of Welcome, we are discussing how a robust pro-life ethic includes immigrants and refugees. Kelly Rosati is the former Vice President of Child Advocacy and Sanctity of Human Life initiatives at Focus on the Family. She’s a lawyer, frequent speaker, adoptive mother of four, and a consultant on mental health issues. We had a conversation with Kelly about how women of faith can connect the dots from traditional pro-life issues and other human dignity areas. Listen in to hear how Scripture informs the way in which she carries her pro-life ethic into issues of immigration.