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10-1-14 Refuge and Revelation Refugee Center Opens in Phoenix
First of its kind in the North American Division
By Phil Draper, Communication Director
Arizona Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
|The grand opening and dedication service for the Refuge and Revelation Refugee Center (RRRC) was held September 14 in Phoenix, Arizona.
In her remarks, Saelee said the Arizona RRRC is the first refugee center in the North American Division.
Glenn Sta. Ana, Assistant to the President for Asian Pacific Ministries for the Arizona Conference reports, “The growing crisis and challenge among refugees in Arizona prompted the Arizona Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, the Community Care Chaplains, local churches, and refugee community leaders to form a collaboration that helps refugees build a more promising and healthy life. We call the program Refuge and Revelation. We seek to reach refugees in their major transition in life after they move to Arizona. Our mission is to develop community leaders, equip family members with resources and life skills to combat hardships, provide emotional healing to individuals and families, restore broken relationships, offer psycho-spiritual support, and share the Good News of Jesus.”
The Refuge and Revelation project is supported by an endowment fund grant from the Pacific Union Conference in the amount of $137,000.
The Refuge team consists of a group of professional and lay people who have built a safe haven to provide care for refugees. They offer support and therapy groups to children, adolescents and adults. Clinical chaplains, mental health practitioners, and pastoral counselors are equipped to assist with a wide range of difficulties.
Revelation’s emphasis is on education, training refugees in areas such as English as a second language (ESL), Bible studies, life skills, and citizenship.
Some area churches are involved. The Glendale Seventh-day Adventist provides a 200-seat worship space in their fellowship hall for Adventist refugees from Central Africa. Pastor Gary Venden and Chaplain Joel Mpabwana are working on a plan to transport new refugees to the church.
Pastor Eugene Taylor and the Phoenix Central Seventh-day Adventist Church have embraced refugees from Thailand and Myanmar.
Pastor Jim Brauer and the Desert Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church in Tucson, Arizona accommodate around 40 to 50 Adventist refugees from Central Africa each Sabbath.
The Refuge and Revelation project also provides vans to transport refugees to training centers, jobs, church services and other events. It also offers a traveling mental health and education clinic that goes around the local immigrant centers to meet the needs of the refugee communities.
The RRRC in Phoenix, situated near refugee communities, serves as a resource for learning and assistance. It has a clothing center, and serves as a channel to receive support and donations from those who are moved to support this ministry. Another community center is planned for Tucson for another group of refugees facing similar challenges.
Sta. Ana says, “From the Southeast Asian jungles and African forests come a group of people confronting the urban jungles of America. The struggles and hardships remain, only different. We can’t protect refugees from their pain and suffering, but we can do something to make their presence valued, their stories heard, their journeys more supported, and help them experience the love of Christ through people who have decided to become a good neighbor.”