Photos from iStock, El Monte Vietnamese Seventh-day Adventist Church, and Arizona Conference
The North American Division has made an effort to help refugee and immigrant populations — and to share the Adventist message of hope and wholeness to brothers and sisters across the divison. Below is just a small sample of the outreach to help those in need, featured in news articles from the past couple years.
Daniel R. Jackson, the president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America, wrote in a late 2015 Huffington Post article, "As Christians, we believe God calls upon us to act not just in word but in deed. We are to take care of the least of these. These are the hungry, thirsty, sick, the poor, prisoners, and strangers — refugees. We are to care for them without condition. There simply is no other option." The NAD strives to accomplish this with God's leading and guidance.
More than 100 refugee patients received $40,000 worth of medical care in the form of dental cleanings, extractions, and root canals when the Grand Rapids Central Seventh-day Adventist Church teamed up with the newly-formed Myanmar company and local New Hope Baptist church to hold a free dental and health event on Aug. 12 and 14, 2016. MORE
Video: "A Visit to San Diego"
The Paradise Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church in San Diego, California, has opened a unique refugee ministry. The church runs an ESL program, computer training, on-the-job training, food distribution program, and offers advocacy, helping 63 different ethnic groups within and around the church. All services offered with "no strings attached." Click here to watch the video.
Editorial: "A Time of Trouble," Dan Weber
"Recent images on our television and computer screens have shown us the terrible impact that war is playing upon the people of Syria and the Middle East. Thousands have fled their homeland seeking safety in foreign lands, often braving unsafe traveling conditions just for the hope of a new beginning. Many of them are fellow Christian believers, a minority in their home countries, but nonetheless they are seeking religious freedom and the right to worship as they see fit. Others are Muslim, but yet their lives have been destroyed by civil war and the unmentionable horrors that go with it."MORE
Local communities joined together at the Greenway Auditorium in Coleraine, Minn., on November 5, 2015, to raise awareness and donations for the growing Syrian refugee crisis. It is estimated that between 7-9 million Syrians have fled their homes and entered into neighboring countries like Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq since the break of the civil war-2011. MORE
North American Division Adventist Refugee and Immigrant Ministries coordinator, Terri Saelee, and the director of the Asian/Pacific Ministries of the Pacific Union Conference, VicLouis Arreola, were present — as well as several pastors and officials from the Arizona Conference — for the grand opening and dedication service on Sept. 14, 2014. In her remarks, Saelee said the Arizona RRRC is the first refugee center in the NAD. MORE
Update from Arizona: "Refuge and Revelation Serves Arizona's Refugees"
The refugee population in Arizona is staggering. It is estimated that 4,000 refugees made Arizona their home during the last year. The Arizona Conference has taken a major role in providing services for these people in transition. In 2014, the Refuge and Revelation Center (R&R) opened its doors in Phoenix. MORE
Commentary: "To Be a Peacemaker in a World Where There Is No Peace," Gabriela Philips
I am writing from Loma Linda, Calif., where many today [Dec. 3, 2015] are grieving the senseless loss of lives just a few miles away in San Bernardino. At some point I was just a quarter of a mile from where the shooting took place, and saw a number of police vehicles and news reporters in the vicinity. I had no idea the extent of the tragedy until later. I am here, as part of a larger General Conference and Loma Linda University team exploring positive ways to counteract the current climate of distrust and fear that is creeping among us in terms of Adventist-Muslim Relations. MORE
In a first for the Adventist Church in North America, translation service will be provided at the mega-clinic for 14 different language groups largely from immigrant and refugee populations. Plans to reach these language groups developed quickly during March meetings where the local coordinator, Vinh Nguyen, pastor of the El Monte Vietnamese Church in Los Angeles, shared the importance of reaching out to people groups often on the fringe. “It is vital that we reach out to every language, tribe, tongue and people,” says Vinh. MORE
Videos: Your Best Pathway to Health
Click here to watch a video on how Pastor Vinh and Cynthia Nguyen helped create translation services for more than 20 languages at Pathway to Health LA; and click here to check out a video story about a patient who needed surgery and language translation.
According to the United Nations, there were 19.5 million refugees worldwide by the end of 2014, many of whom are still calling out for help. This summer, one member of Southern Adventist University’s faculty did her best to answer that call. In August, Pamela Gammenthaler, associate professor of nursing, traveled to Georgia with eight other volunteers to help deliver backpacks and school supplies to 40 refugee students from Myanmar at Duluth Adventist Christian School. MORE
Last year  Rockwood Adventist Church in Portland, Oregon, expanded their congregation by adding a worship service in the Karen language to serve a group of refugees from Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). This group of dedicated Seventh-day Adventists are now reaching out to their own people living in cities like Portland, Seattle, Kennewick, Boise, and Spokane and they need your help. MORE
For two decades, from 1915-1934, Dr. Eric B. Hare and wife, Agnes, served as missionaries in Burma, sharing the gospel message and baptizing many in this country. Burma has seen more than its fair share of wars since then, both external and internal. Even the name was changed to Myanmar by the new government in 1988. Statistics from the United Nations reveal there are 6-7 million Karen (pronounced Kur-in) people around the world; many of their villages have been destroyed. Several hundred thousand have been living in refugee camps in Thailand. MORE
The St. Louis Central Church has embraced the growing population of Nepalese refugees and last fall helped them organize into the Three Angels Nepalese Seventh-day Adventist Group. Elder Dean Coridan, Iowa-Missouri Conference president, has stated that he believes working with refugees is vital in order for the gospel message to reach the whole world. As refugees learn and understand biblical truths, they will then share them with their friends and family back in their home countries. MORE
“The church can become like an extended family for refugees coming to the United States, and we can focus on a more holistic engagement with their physical needs, then social, mental and eventually spiritual needs,” says Sung Kwon, executive director of the North American Division’s Adventist Community Services. “When people come to America, whether through migration or as refugees, they are very vulnerable,” Kwon adds. “They are in a new community without having any support structure or family, and they find themselves isolated.” That’s when church organizations play a major role. According to the U.S. Department of State, faith groups assist about 70 percent of refugees who resettle in the U.S. MORE