A message regarding refugees “We Choose Welcome”

From our Transitional Sheppard Ted Land:

In the 1970’s, the church that I served in the Mississippi Delta “adopted” or “fostered a family from Viet Nam. That family came through Church World Service.

In the ‘80’s, I worked with international students at West Virginia Tech. The who pediatrician who treated our son was Muslim. The orthopedic surgeon who repaired by hand was, too. I took comfort that he came into the operating room with his forehead red from being pressed against the prayer rug in his morning prayers.

In the ‘90’s, one of my best friends was a Muslim obstetrician and I was never in his home that he did not ask me to pray. I participated in the weddings of two of his three children, and only missed the third because I was performing another wedding elsewhere. I became acquainted with a group of the “lost boys” from Somalia, who had been taken in by a Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville, Florida, all of whom came through Church World Service, and all of who were either becoming Christians or had been raised in Christian homes in their native land.

In this century, I worked with Brazilian immigrants, some of who were undocumented, in a new church development. I worked with countless undocumented and illegal immigrants from all of Latin America in hurricane recovery work, and with one German family who came from East Germany on a tourist visa and just stayed for thirty years. My physician for a while was from Syria, the most heavily Christian country in the Middle East. We used to joke that it was his family that the Apostle Paul was coming to persecute when he had his experience on the Damascus Road. His family had been Christian that long!

Most recently, we heard Commissioned Ruling Elder Janet Loman tell of an Iranian student at New Mexico State University who showed up at First Presbyterian Church in Las Cruces, and found the Lord there, not just a church. When I think of the number of churches he walked by between the campus and FPC, I know that God led him there.

This isn’t about politics. This is about people, about human lives.

All I ask you to do is to pray for the refugee, pray for the homeless, pray for our President, pray for our military and our diplomats. Pray that God’s will be done.


PCUSA also has released a statement regarding the recent executive order to block refugees, it can be found HERE.