Returned Missionaries Find a New Role as Peacemakers Among University Students

Women of Welcome is a diverse group of Christian women. Together we are creating a movement of Christlike welcome. Meet Lynne, one member of our community. Lynne and her husband – along with their four sons – were missionaries in Africa for twenty-five years. In 2015, their children now grown, they made the decision to leave Africa and return to the States. Their ministry abroad had focused on sharing the love of Christ with their neighbors, and their experiences in another country had shaped them and their family as well.

Upon settling in Nashville, her son began working at a local World Relief office, and they began to connect with refugee families living in their city.

At the same time, however, Lynne noticed that anti-immigrant voices were rising in the public discourse, and she was discouraged to discover that many of the loudest people were also Believers. She and her husband wrestled with the reality that their time in Africa had brought them many friends and loved ones, also made in the image of God, and those relationships influenced the lens through which they now viewed their neighbors in the United States.

They lamented the sense of fear they felt had grown in the U.S. during their absence, and yet their role as missionaries-in-residence at a local university allowed them to connect with a wide community of Christians. Lynne and her husband have taken on a communal “grandparent” role among many young adults as they work together to pursue peace and welcome immigrants and refugees.