Invite Refugees Into Your Home - Radical

Invite Refugees Into Your Home

Do you know the giddy feeling you get waiting for an old friend to arrive at your home? That’s how I felt as my husband, our two housemates, and I waited to greet our first refugee guests. Knowing only their names, ages, and the country they were coming from, we said yes to welcoming a family of strangers into our four-bedroom, three-bath rental house.

Sharing Gospel Hope in a Refugee Host Home

In the coming weeks, we learned bits and pieces of their story. We shared meals, went to church together, watched TV in both our languages, and took in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest on long walks. When language failed, we shared laughter. 

Over the next year, we hosted a dozen more refugees, asylees, parolees, and immigrants with special visas holders—some for a few days, others for a few months. Some, like the first guests, were faithful brothers and sisters in Christ. Others were cultural Christians whose faith had awakened upon arrival in the United States. Many were Muslims curious to learn about what we believed as Christians. Few spoke English, but we always found a way to communicate.

The Nations at Our Doorstep

As one of the most diverse nations on the planet, the U.S. is home to over 44.9 million immigrants and representatives of at least 98 unreached people groups. These numbers grow each year as global conflicts drive people from their homes and force them to seek safety in places like the U.S.

When new refugees arrive, refugee resettlement agencies usually have two options: place them in a hotel or in a host home. For many families, host homes are the best option as they enable refugees to lean on a local family and learn the basics of life in their new country while they await placement in permanent housing. The local family gets the opportunity to build bridges with communities around the world. With each family they invite into their home, they reach the nations little by little. 

Opening Up Our Homes to The Nations

Two thousand years ago, on a mountain overlooking the glistening Sea of Galilee, Jesus commanded his disciples to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). 

The Great Commission often triggers images of radical Christians like Jim and Elisabeth Elliot venturing to faraway lands to share the gospel. Yet the call to make disciples of all nations applies to each member of the global church. The Great Commission is just as serious to those who travel far and wide as it is to those who never leave their hometown.

Don’t get me wrong—we need more faithful servants to commit their lives to reaching unreached people groups abroad.

Yet, something is happening. God is at work amidst the darkest situations in the world. He is bringing people out of genocide, war, and persecution to the homes of people like you and me. Will we open the door?

I Was a Stranger, and You Welcomed Me

Two days before the crucifixion, Jesus spoke to the disciples about judgment day. He explained that people will be separated like a shepherd separates sheep from goats. He identifies the sheep—his children—as those who tangibly cared for the most vulnerable members of society (Matthew 25:33–40).

But it’s not only that. Jesus said, “Whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). Jesus identifies with both the pain and the comfort of the persecuted. 

When we say yes to tangibly caring for “the least of these”—widows, orphans, and foreigners—we say yes to caring for Christ himself.

A Call to Our Generation

So, how do you get started as a refugee host? Start by reaching out to local organizations to learn about refugee ministry in your city. Most cities have refugee resettlement agencies or other organizations that support immigrants. 

Do an inventory of what you have to offer. Do you have an extra bedroom? Enough dishes to share dinner with a guest or two? Perhaps a guesthouse? You don’t need to have a large home, and you don’t need to own your home—you might be surprised how supportive your landlord will be. 

Your doorstep could be the place a widowed Salvadorian asylum-seeker and her daughter reunite after months of separation. Your guesthouse could become a refuge for a pastor and his family who fled a closed country. Your dining room table could be the place where a young Afghan learns about Jesus for the first time. 

As we care for the least of these, we care for the King of Kings. May we be a generation known for feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, clothing the naked, looking after the sick, visiting prisoners, and welcoming strangers—not for our own glory, but for the glory of God. 

Annie Blay

Annie Blay is the Founder of the Global Neighbor Project is from Seattle but can often be found seeking out stories of the church at work in different parts of the world.

LESS THAN 1% OF ALL MONEY GIVEN TO MISSIONS GOES TO UNREACHED PEOPLE AND PLACES.

That means that the people with the most urgent spiritual and physical needs on the planet are receiving the least amount of support. Together we can change that!