Life changing moments happen at the dinner table. It was at the table where Jesus Christ shared his last supper with his disciples and demonstrated the transformational grace he was about to provide. It was at the table where some early European refugees and local Native Americans shared a peaceful meal, celebrating the harvest after a harsh season that initiated the first Thanksgiving in what is now the United States. And it’s at the dinner table where many of us will gather this Thursday to celebrate the holiday. But who are we inviting to the table? As we prepare to feast this week, we can’t help but think of the thousands of refugees who might be celebrating this holiday for the first time. But this won’t happen if we don’t open up our homes and welcome these strangers to our tables.
With the help of churches and volunteers, World Relief resettles more than 5,000 refugees each year. Everyone involved shows God’s love by giving their time, talent and treasure to make sure these strangers are welcome. After what is usually a long and grueling process of fleeing extreme hardships in their home nations, the comfort of knowing they have helpful friends in a completely new environment is an answer to prayer for many refugees.
Around the US, churches and volunteers are flinging their doors open to welcome refugees into their communities this Thanksgiving season. Travis Trice, World Relief’s Church Relations Coordinator in Jacksonville, Florida, knows the incredible impact of the work of the local Church: “Every holiday we see refugees’ lives enriched because of the outpouring of love from our local churches in North Florida. Without them, we couldn’t do what we do.”
So who are you inviting to the table this week? Join us and churches around the country as we welcome the stranger to our table and have them leave as friends. For more information on how to do this, contact your local World Relief office by visiting http://worldrelief.org/us-offices.