Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is a non-profit organization that welcomes and supports refugees and migrants entering the United States. It is one of nine refugee resettlement agencies working with the Office of Refugee Resettlement and one of only two that serves unaccompanied refugee minors. LIRS also advocates for just policies and practices relating to immigration and detention.
As an organization, LIRS originates from the response of American Lutherans in 1939 to the needs of Europeans displaced because of World War II, but the roots of the organization reach back to the 1860s when the New York Ministerium and the Pennsylvania Synod joined together to help and protect Lutheran immigrants in the US. Since then the organization’s scope has expanded to include any refugees entering the US, support for asylum seekers and migrants, and services to unaccompanied children (UACs).
LIRS continues to be a faith-based organization and maintains relationships with three national Lutheran denominations: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, and the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. –taken from Wikipedia
1 : to greet hospitably and with courtesy or cordiality
2 : to accept with pleasure the occurrence or presence of
— welcomer noun
Definition of welcome for English Language Learners
: giving someone happiness or pleasure
—used to say that you are happy to have someone come to and stay in a place (such as your home)
: a person undertaking a mission and especially a religious mission
Definition of missionary for English Language Learners
: a person who is sent to a foreign country to do religious work (such as to convince people to join a religion or to help people who are sick, poor, etc.)
As missionaries of welcome in a house of welcome, our greatest desire is to follow our Lord Jesus Christ in both the example He set for us (Jn. 13:1-17) and the instructions He gave us (Mt. 28:18-20). To that end, we seek to live out His words in Matthew 25:35-40.
“‘For when you saw me hungry, you fed me. When you found me thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I had no place to stay, you invited me in, and when I was poorly clothed, you covered me. When I was sick, you tenderly cared for me, and when I was in prison you visited me.’
“Then the godly will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty and give you food and something to drink? When did we see you with no place to stay and invite you in? When did we see you poorly clothed and cover you? When did we see you sick and tenderly care for you, or in prison and visit you?’
“And the King will answer them, ‘Don’t you know? When you cared for one of the least important of these my little ones, my true brothers and sisters, you demonstrated love for me.’” -Matthew 25:35-40, The Passion Translation (TPT)
These “true brothers and sisters” of our Lord Jesus are those whom we seek to welcome in His name and be His very Presence to them, bringing His Gospel love to them…and them to Him, seeing Jesus in each and every face that comes through our doors at Abba’s House.
Next we will share more about our means and core values that will enable us to incarnate Jesus among these brothers and sisters He brings to dwell at Abba’s House.