Trafficked youth, refugees, the Middle East, and microfinance projects are previous focus areas that continue to attract our attention and energy.



Definition: the action of coming to live permanently in a foreign country.

  • An estimated 4 million children in the US have at least one undocumented parent and live with the constant fear of family separation.
  • Concerning deportations due to criminal issues, an analysis of ICE data showed only 12 percent of all deportees had committed a “serious crime.” However, the charges for 45 percent of these deportees were as minor as a traffic citation or overstaying a visa. (Denver Post, 2014)

“Our shared theology compels us to love, care for, and seek justice for the stranger among us.” – Together Colorado

Human Trafficking

Definition: Human trafficking is the trade of humans, most commonly for the purpose of sexual slavery, forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others.

“I was not hidden, I didn’t have chains, I was right next to you the entire time…I was sold and I was sold and I was sold.” – Denver Post


Definition: A refugee is someone who cannot return to their home country because they have a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or because they are a member of a persecuted social category of persons or because they are fleeing a war.

  • Many remain in refugee camps for decades.
  • Over three million people have fled Syria – the biggest refugee operation in the United Nation’s 4-year history (UN, 2014).
  • The US accepted 74,602 refugees in 2009 (the yearly number accepted is decided by the President).
  • Being a cultural mentor is not easy, but it is very rewarding.

“The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you. They are unique manifestations of the human spirit.” – Wade Davis


The Middle East Conflict

  • Some defining history
    • The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is, in essence, a conflict over territory dating back to the 1500’s.
    • In 1948 after World War II the U.N. approved the state of Israel for Jews. Many Palestinians were displaced and lived in refugee camps still today.
    • In 1967, Israel defeated neighboring Arab countries in a war that lasted six days. Israel captured the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights. Palestinians in these areas have no guarantee of civil rights and cannot travel freely between areas without specific documentation. Jewish settlements are retained and continue to be built in these areas in defiance of international law.
    • In 2002, Israel began to construct a separation wall that is 25 feet high.
  • From Jewish Voices for Peace
    • More than 70,000 Palestinians live in villages in Israel that are not recognized by the Israeli government and receive no services (water, electricity, sanitation, roads, etc.) from the government.
    • More data at the Israel/Palestine 101 website.
  • From Meet the Middle East (MTME)
    • MTME and many others believe a new era is emerging in the Middle East, and with it, a new chance for peace and interaction between people of the Middle East and the West.
    • In an age of high technology that includes social media, a new kind of citizen has also emerged in the region. The majority of Middle Easterners are under 30 years of age, highly educated, politically aware, technologically savvy and extremely active in shaping this new era that is poised to send the entire region into a period of renaissance.

    Fewer than 33% of Americans hold a favorable opinion of Arabs and Muslims. Only 38% of the U.S. population has ever met anyone who is Muslim. Americans who say they know either Arabs or Muslims have significantly higher favorable attitudes toward both –– 33% higher in both cases.



Definition: Gives low-income people an opportunity to become self-sufficient by providing a means to borrow, save money and own insurance.

  • Microfinance services can help poor households to:
    • Make the transformation from every-day survival to planning for the future
    • Send more children to school for longer periods
    • Improve nutrition and health care
  • Mennonite Economic Development Association (MEDA)
    • Provides microfinance assistance in 50 developing countries
    • Has shown that women can rise above cultural barriers and succeed in business

    A women’s status is often elevated as she learns to generate and control her own income.

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