A lot can happen in 17 years. For some of us born and raised in America, those 17 years often involve birth at a hospital, public or private schooling, team sports, academic extracurriculars, college decisions, and employment. For unsettled refugees around the world, 17 years is the average time spent displaced from their home country “until they reach a ‘durable solution,’ whether safely returning to their home country, permanent settlement in the first country to which they fled, or resettlement to a third country.” When I discovered this fact from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), I was shocked. How could I help?
I started looking for events and ways to learn more about the refugee crisis in my backyard, and in the process, stumbled upon a World Relief event in Wheaton that alumnus Matthew Soerens ’06, an author and the U.S. Director of Church Mobilization for World Relief, helped coordinate. In my attempt to attend, I drove around for 30 minutes trying to find parking and found none within a half mile of the event location. This, to me, was a profound encouragement: I am not the only one concerned and wanting to learn more about the global migration crisis.
UNSETTLED: THE GLOBAL MIGRATION CRISIS
I was also curious: What were other Wheaton alumni like Matthew doing to make a difference? It wasn’t difficult to track down the eight alumni, faculty members, and students featured in this issue of Wheaton magazine—they are a microcosm of a larger group of alumni who are actively involved with research about the global migration crisis and helping with restoration for the 65 million people who are displaced globally and the 85,000 refugees that arrived in the United States in 2016. Sharing their stories is an honor and a privilege.
We know this is only a small sample of how Wheaton alumni are engaging with this issue, so I invite you to send me an email of how you are sharing the love of Jesus with refugees at email@example.com.
Also, as always, continue to send your stories, letters, photos, comments, and class news updates to firstname.lastname@example.org, and share your favorite Wheaton magazine articles with friends and family using the social media icons at the top of each article page. This magazine wouldn’t be the same without you!
For Christ and His Kingdom,
Allison Althoff Steinke ’11