Saving the World, One Refugee at a Time

Sometimes, saving the world can be a day job.

An intern recently reflected at the end of her semester with Refugee Services that when she was a child, she wanted nothing more than to save the world.  But when she started studying at MSU, she learned about how messed up the world really is. She grew cynical, and doubted that she could ever fulfill her childhood dream. Because of her time with Refugee Services she now believes that there is hope and that her work has helped save many people.

The desire to save people shapes St. Vincent Catholic Charities Refugee Services. There are so many great things about resettling refugees – there is cultural diversity, rejuvenating the economy, bringing the world closer, new businesses, and delicious ethnic restaurants.  But most importantly, refugee resettlement saves lives.  According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees there are over 19 million people seeking refuge around the world.  We save over 600 of them every year.

Refugee camps are unhealthy and dangerous, and that people languish, suffer and die in these situations.  We hear terrible stories of life in the camps from our clients; stories of torture, rape, starvation and disease. And we see their scars and the panic in their eyes. We work hard to build their trust – to reassure them that there is hope and there are still people on earth who care, who will welcome them, and show them kindness and love.

Saving the World by Welcoming Others

In 2015, we resettled 616 refugees from 18 different countries. An additional 63 refugees came to us for services having moved to Lansing from other places in the US.  We provided employment services for 407 clients and supported health services for 662 individuals.

But 2015 was not without some pain.  First, the Syrian crisis that Saving the World - Judi Harrisspread across the Mediterranean and through Europe covered the evening news with images of desperate people taking huge risks. The death tolls rose and we learned the terrible fate of many beautiful children. Then the terrible tragedy in Paris led some politicians to link violence to refugees even though it was quickly proven that no refugees were among the perpetrators. The negative, hateful rhetoric grew and continues to grow as some try to scapegoat the most vulnerable in the world in order to achieve political gain.  But we are proud that our community pushed back against the hate and continued to open its arms to refugees.

God comes to us in the form of refugees and gives us this special opportunity to serve Him by loving and welcoming them. At STVCC we look forward to another successful year in 2016 and continue to dedicate ourselves to loving, welcoming and saving our brothers and sisters from all around the world.

Visit our Refugee Services pagto learn more about how STVCC is saving the world one person at a time. 

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