Categories
Spiritual

Immigrants Are Made in the Image of God Too

statue of liberty the symbol for immigrants
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Immigration is not a new concept. Since the beginning of time, people have migrated (moved within the same region or country) or immigrated (moved to a new country). However, since 2016, it seems like immigration has become a controversial hot topic. Although it is political or has become political in the last few decades because of policies, I believe we should view immigration with a Biblical lens and view immigrants as image bearers, too, because they are made in the image of God too. 

I believe this because the Bible mentions the vulnerable all throughout. It talks about how we should treat them, and God has a soft spot for them. And who are the vulnerable, you may ask? They are the widows, orphans, foreigners (immigrants), and the poor. 

In the very beginning, the Bible starts by telling us that God made humans in His image. 

Genesis 1:27 (NIV) says, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” 

This includes all of our brothers and sisters who have immigrated to the United States and the future immigrants to come. We need to keep this verse at the forefront of our minds when we are talking about immigrants.

What Else Does The Bible Say About Immigrants?

There are many verses that talk about the vulnerable, but I’ll only name a few. 

  • Deuteronomy 10:19 (NIV) And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” 
  • Deuteronomy 27:19 (NIV) “Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless, or the widow.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
  • Leviticus 19:34 (NIV) The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” 
  • Psalms 146:9 (NIV) The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. 
  • Zechariah 7:8-10 (NIV) And the word of the Lord came again to Zechariah: “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’ 
  • Matthew 25:40 (NIV) “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ 

The last verse is a reminder that how we treat others is how we treat Jesus himself.

Why It’s Important to Hear Immigrant Stories

The podcast The American Dream In The Eyes of Immigrants, shares stories about immigrants who moved to the United States. Immigrants talk about their journey coming to the United States, the cultural shocks they experienced, and how they adapted to living here. 

Some stories are good, and some stories are traumatic because everyone has a different reason for coming, but all have the same intention: to better their lives and the lives of their families. And it’s important to hear these stories because we need to understand our brothers and sisters better. We need to have more compassion towards them and empathy. And the best way to do this is by listening to their stories. 

The journey to come isn’t easy. The decision to leave or move from their home country isn’t a decision that is taken lightly. People don’t want to leave their home country. They don’t want to leave their culture, food, language, and sometimes families. They don’t want to start all over in a foreign land. This is all out of necessity. This decision is one that is thought about and pondered on for months and even years and often times prayed about.

In Conclusion

It breaks my heart how negatively the media talks about God’s children who immigrate here, which is one of the reasons why I started the podcast. Immigrant’s stories matter, and everyone should listen to them. To understand, to empathize, to be grateful that they or their family didn’t have to leave their land to make a better life for themselves. What if your family had to leave the United States? Wouldn’t you want people to listen to your story?

One last question to think about what if God called them here?  

With Love, Heidy

Is a personal development newsletter an interest of yours? With a little bit of poetry? A little of opinion pieces? And some faith-based encouragement? Sign up for my Substack newsletter, “Into My Thoughts.”

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Categories
Podcast

Who Are Women of Welcome

Podcast cover with Women of Welcome bri
Women of Welcome director Bri

Many organizations advocate for immigration reform and immigration rights here in the United States. Some operate based on faith, while others do not. However, I had the pleasure and honor of speaking with the director of the Christian-based non-profit organization Women of Welcome. 

Bri Stensrud is an advocate for human dignity. Her passion stems from equipping the Church to engage more steadily and tangibly in holistic human dignity issues. Bri is also an advocate and works within the pro-life movement. During her work, she faced questions about immigrants and refugees. She realized that many of the questions and concerns stemmed from fear and misinformation, so Bri started a journey to discover God’s heart for the sojourner. As stated in her bio on the Women of Welcome website.

Who Are Women of Welcome

The Women of Welcome, a non-partisan Christian organization, dedicates itself to sharing the whole truth and scriptures in understanding God’s heart for immigrants and refugees. Their mission states: We believe God calls us to a deep love for the vulnerable, the marginalized, and the forgotten. Together, we’re on a journey to understand biblical hospitality in an authentic way.

On their website, they have the Greek word for hospitality, philoxenia. Which translates to “the love of strangers.” They write, “Our mission is to follow Christ’s example of love, invitation, and generosity, especially to those who are pushed to the margins.”

How Did Women of Welcome Start

In episode 37, Bri recounts how she started this organization. It started with a study conducted about how people felt about immigration but also where they were getting their information about immigration. Data came back showing the majority were looking at immigration from a political viewpoint instead of a Biblical one first. The data also showed that the majority of women had compassion towards immigrants and refugees but did not know what to do or how to help. So, Bri and a friend put out a Bible study to see if it sparked interest.

The name of the Bible study is Ruth & Noami; it’s free and still available on their website. People have downloaded it over 130,000 times since its first release. It talks about what immigration is and revisits the story of Ruth and Noami. If you are unfamiliar with the story of Ruth and Noami, it is about two immigrating women and what they must do in order to survive. 

Women of Welcome has now grown to over 150,000 women between their Instagram, Facebook private group, YouTube, and newsletter. 

Resources

Since the release of Ruth and Noami, Women of Welcome has added five additional Bible studies. All are free and available for download right on their website. I’ve completed their Bible Study – What Does the Bible Say About Immigration? It was impactful, and I feel like it was important for me to do because of the work I’m doing with this podcast, so I encourage you to go through it, too! 

They have three films on their website to watch. While Our Care: Child Detention Stories and Discussion, discusses how children are cared for in the United States while going through the immigration system. Who is Welcome Here Film and Study, which is a documentary about informing Christians to grow their Biblical response to immigrants and immigration in the United States. Eyes to See Film is a film about going to the southern border in 2018 to see what exactly is going on. 

Women of Welcome also has a list of books about immigration they recommend to read for more educational purposes.

Conclusion

Listen to episode 37 of The American Dream in The Eyes of Immigrants Podcast to learn more about Bri, Women of Welcome, and their work advocating for decent immigration policies. To connect, follow them on Instagram and join their private Facebook group.

How are you actively engaging in immigration advocacy?

With Love, Heidy

Is a personal development newsletter an interest of yours? With a little bit of poetry? A little of opinion pieces? And some faith-based encouragement? Sign up for my Substack newsletter, “Into My Thoughts.”

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