Listen To Their Stories

Rebuilding Hope, June 2015 edition
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Listen To Their Stories

Folabi Olagbaju, LIRS Director for Outreach, shared with congregations how they can impact the refugee and immigration crisis today.

At Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Vienna, Virginia, church member Marion McInturff recently organized a Christian education series titled “Immigration and the Lutheran Church.”

The three week series conducted during the Christian Education hour on Sunday mornings featured three unique speakers sharing their own incredible stories and firsthand accounts to educate the congregations on how they, along with the Lutheran Church, are making an impact on the refugee and immigration crisis in today’s world.

Session one was led by Kelly Baugh, from King of Kings, who shared with the congregants about the Metro D.C. Synod delegation trip to El Salvador this past August.

The second session featured Ivone Guillane, an immigrant herself, who spoke about her journey to the United States as a child, what it means to be a DREAMer, and her current work on immigration issues.

The third and final Sunday, Emmanuel Lutheran welcomed Folabi Olagbaju, LIRS Director for Outreach, who discussed the mission, programs, efforts, and hard work LIRS has devoted to immigrants and refugees over the past 75 years.

Marion was very happy with the series and its impact on those in attendance. “For perhaps the first time, the topic of immigration from a faith perspective [was] being discussed,” she said. “This very important topic is now ‘on the table’ and I hope it fosters active commitment for change.”

She hopes that the lecture series will eventually be adopted by many more churches in the synod and encourages those who are moved by the stories they hear to talk to as many people as they can about the immigration crisis facing America.

With your help and the help of the church community, we can make real, life-changing progress in immigration reform. It is not easy to take time to advocate for major changes in society but everyone who cares about the immigration issue can take these simple steps:

  1. Talk about it to everyone — at book clubs, neighborhood socials, happy hours. Raise awareness through informal conversations.
  2. Reach out to immigrants in your community. Take time to listen to their story if they will share it; offer them a small kindness!
  3. Write to members of Congress telling them that changes in immigration laws are essential. Creating an e-message is easy through LIRS’ Action Center! []

Start small. You might catch the fever!

If you would like more information on how you can bring this educational series to your church, please contact

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