Students connect with refugees during summer

For a couple months during this summer, two Johnson University students spent time working with refugees in Houston.

Christina Crutchfield, 23, and Liz Carson, 20, participated in internships through the parent organization Global Frontier Missions, teaching English as a second language and loving on the families present in the program.

The local Mission Organization (whose name is being withheld for security purposes) is an outreach program that teaches English to non-native speakers. The organization houses refugees, many of which are specifically selected for the program.

Crutchfield and Carson said that roughly 1 percent of the refugee population actually makes it to America.

“We also learned about the plight of the refugee,” Crutchfield said. “A lot of them come from a warzone due to unrest or fighting because of religion. We got to see real people behind the stories you’d see on TV.”

Crutchfield said that many are not Christians and proceeded to explain how they were able to overcome the obstacle of differing religions.

“We found what we called bridges between the religions, like Islam says there is one God and we believe in one God as well,” Crutchfield said.

Carson said that it was her second time with the internship and that learning about these cultures is a blessing.

“When it comes to the religion aspect we spent every Sunday going to mosques and Buddhist temples and Hindu temples more than we were in churches.” Carson said. “We also realized how they function as people and finding out what was missing to try and help and connect them to other people.”

She said there is a need for many of the refugees to make friends here in the United States, as many of them did not have any connections with people in the U.S.

Carson said the refugees have a chance to become Citizens as their test results are expedited.

“We actually worked with a family who explained all the differences of coming to the United States,” Crutchfield said. “I asked them what was the hardest to adjust to and they answered with people just don’t have time for you here.”

Both confirmed that given the chance they would return to work for the organization again.  

“It was incredible to put faces with the stories” Carson said. “It was such a blessing to get to know them.”

Both women said that they would even recommend it to anyone interested in getting a taste of what the refugee plight actually is, and anyone with a passion for hurting or repressed people should give thought into being an intern for the organization.