Simple Ways to Increase Your Proximity to Immigrants
August 11, 2020
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Here are a few ways you can engage the immigrants in your community to help you get to know immigrants as people made in the image of God rather than thinking about immigration only through political or policy lenses.
- Serve with local or national non-profits providing immigration services or resettlement help.
- Teach with churches or community entities offering English classes.
- Give resources or time to schools in your community with high immigrant/refugee student populations.
- Shop at grocery stores that cater to immigrant communities.
- Worship with immigrant congregations on a regular basis and participate in their church activities or service opportunities.
- Frequent immigrant-owned restaurants on a regular basis and get to know the staff.
- Assist immigrant families who may need help with childcare, cleaning, yard work and other logistical needs.
- Seek out opportunities to hire immigrants for full-time employment or contract work
- Speak with your church about hiring immigrant staff/pastors.
- Consider joining an immigrant-led church and positioning yourself under the leadership of an immigrant pastor.
- Connect with Church Planting Networks and offer your gifts, talents, and resources in support of newly planted immigrant and refugee churches.
- Host an immigrant family for dinner and listen to their story.
- Befriend a newly arrived refugee/asylee family and help them navigate life in America.
- Integrate an immigrant family into some of your existing social connections.
- Model invitations as a way of life for your American friends to learn from as you are learning.
- Say yes to invitations! It can feel comfortable to be in the hosting role, but it may feel more awkward to be a guest in various instances. Say yes anyway!
- Sign up for sports leagues where immigrants make up a high proportion of participants.
- Take part in social activities in which immigrant families regularly participate.
- Smile more around those who are different than you.
- Be a humble and curious learner.
- Cultivate reciprocity. Ask questions, but also share about your own life experiences.
- Overcome awkwardness and possible language barriers with patience and technology like Google Translate.
- Laugh at yourself and cross-cultural blunders. Laughter is a universal language that breaks down barriers.
How else can you engage immigrants in your community with the love of Jesus?