The Venezuela crisis has caused about 3.4 million people to flee the country, seeking food, work, and a better life. While the influx from Venezuela has caused tensions in host countries, it also has brought out their hospitable spirit.
You won’t find the word “refugee” in the Bible, but there are principles in God’s Word for how his people are to treat those who are called “strangers,” “foreigners,” and “sojourners” in our translations. In Matthew 25, Jesus says that how we treat “strangers” indicates whether or not we are his followers. Disciples’ behavior should include hospitality to strangers. And the New Testament epistles use the term “strangers” as a metaphor for our status before we professed faith in Jesus Christ.
Stories in the news show children and families who’ve endured tragic loss, terrifying violence, or painful injury. Experts widely agree that parents should shield young children from violent and disturbing news. But how can you explain the global refugee crisis in age-appropriate terms and help them become informed and empowered to help?
Barbara and Allen Sisson started Living Water Ministries in 2015 to serve members of their community in West Virginia. Many residents like Joanna cannot afford enough food to feed their families. Living Water Ministries stands in the gap, providing food, cleaning supplies, diapers, heaters, furniture, and other household necessities. World Vision supplies most of what the ministry provides to families living in poverty.
About 4 million people in the U.S. benefited from that work and the generosity of thousands of donors, companies, churches, and other partner organizations in 2018. That includes more than 2.2 million children who benefited from school supplies, family food kits, hygiene supplies, after-school programs, and emergency relief supplies.
Kim still grieves her husband’s death, but has found purpose in loss, thanks to strong faith, a loving church community, and some generous donors. World Vision and her church provided her with a sectional sofa, two living room chairs, various food supplies, and a dining room table with matching chairs.
Jheyde, 13, is among more than 1 million Venezuelans in Colombia who left because of hunger and poverty. She finally found stability and success in school.
At any given time, Academy Programs houses, feeds, counsels, coaches, and educates about 70 of the toughest, least motivated middle- and high-school students from around the state. Of the 185 students who came through the program in 2018, the average grade-point average was a 1.38 when they entered the school. When they transitioned out, they carried a collective GPA of 3.0, says Principal Matt Kittle. Most incoming students — 84% of them — tested below their grade level in reading, as did 83% of students in math. While here, almost 4 out of 5 students increase their math and reading scores one grade level or more. World Vision helps provide resources for the staff so they can better help kids succeed.
Venezuela is in crisis. The economy has collapsed, and an uprising of political opposition to President Nicolas Maduro has put the country’s leadership in question. Armando is one of more than 4 million Venezuelans — 5,000 per day in 2018 — who have left the country seeking food, work, and a better life.
In West Virginia, Lucy Kirby cares for eight children. Hers is a beautiful story of adoption, and World Vision was there to help in her time of need.