Skip to main content
Holistic Ministry

Practical Ways to Help Refugees in Local Community

mom and childAs Christ commands in Matthew 25, One Challenge seeks to obey. The majority of OC’s mission work happens outside the borders of the United States. But as we live in a time of more migration than ever before, the nations are coming to our neighborhoods. The least-reached are now accessible in unprecedented ways. When the Lord postponed Amelia’s* vision to serve in Central Asia, he opened a door for her to reach Muslims closer to home, through a local refugee program.

“‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:31-40

Volunteering in a Local Refugee Program

After attending a conference last summer where she was challenged to make friends with a Muslim and learned more about them, Amelia began to volunteering in her city. She soon spent a majority of her time working with refugees.

“My time with them grew more extensive as I was able to use my gifts to help them in many more areas. These actions gave me access into their lives and opportunity to see their physical needs as well as the spiritual. I began to think of the possibilities of working with these refugees longer, and to develop a program to fill the gaps that some non-profit services cannot provide,” Amelia says.

boy coloringThe vision of Amelia’s partner company is to see the Great Commission effectively fulfilled by using the power of the gospel to reach unreached people groups, Amelia says. “My refugee program compliments this vision by welcoming and supporting refugees displaced from their country in order to help them develop long term goals, and visualize how their dreams for living in America can become a reality.”

The desire is to build meaningful relationships that will have kingdom impact. They seek to accomplish this by assisting them with American culture, creating a program to teach and instruct them, and developing a model to be reproduced in other cities.

Opportunities for Serving in a Refugee Program

Just like Amelia, you can get involved in many ways today and see your gifting used to change the lives of refugees. Here are some areas of need:

  • ESL – trained personnel to provide language learning in various skill levels
  • Cultural Orientation – guiding refugees through integration, culture shock, and transitional periods
  • Translating – volunteers who can speak their heart languages to translate for those refugees who have low (or no) English skills
  • Job placement – assisting with employment, locating short-term job possibilities upon arrival and helping to discover and obtain long-term career goals
  • Transportation – providing rides to medical and official appointments, teaching them to navigate public transportation and giving assistance with DMV qualifications for driving
  • Education counseling – guiding refugees through the American education system from obtaining GED’s, continuing education, and degree equivalents
  • Childcare programs – facilitating after-school homework clubs for children and childcare while parents are in appointments and classes
  • Financial responsibilities and planning – guiding through the process of taxes, lines of credit, loans, banking and retirement planning
  • Mentoring – getting refugees involved in social activities around the city and meeting new people, as well as continuing to build relationships while meeting physical and emotional needs

Contact One Challenge at mobilization@oci.org to see how you can get involved. If you can’t spare time to volunteer – PRAY.

Church Support?

Question to Ponder… 
Costco has been stocking halal meat in preparation for the influx of refugees to the U.S. How is the church getting prepared?

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” – Emma Lazarus (taken from the poem on the Statue of Liberty).

Join Us in Prayer

  • Pray for the volunteers and staff members working with refugees as they serve in their communities. They are understaffed and overwhelmed with the flood of migrants seeking refuge in the United States.
  • Pray about how you can reach out to non-believers in your area, no matter their ethnic heritage or religion.
  • Pray that the Lord will work in the hearts of the refugees that Amelia is currently working with, that He would draw them closer to himself.

*For the sake of security, some of the real names of workers or programmes have been changed or omitted.


Holistic Ministry
One Challenge is an international agency committed to bringing God’s transforming love and hope to all people. We identify and work to meet the physical, emotional, and social needs of individuals and communities, providing opportunities for deeper level relationships and deeper levels of change. These ministries include education, medical services, agricultural development, community development, and small business mentoring … helping local people to build a healthy community.

Leave a Reply