Born across the world.
Escaped from danger.
Now they are your neighbors.
These are the refugees who live in the DFW area.
Do you know how many refugees are living in the DFW area?
Who are Refugees?
Refugees are individuals and families forced to flee their countries of origin due to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, or membership to a particular social, or political group.
Have you ever looked at your city from the eyes of a refugee?
Kaitlyn & Cameron Mullens do this every day with amazing faith and unwavering determination as they help refugees make new lives in the Richardson/Garland area. Kaitlyn & Cameron are the founders of For The Nations, a non-profit that provides educational and acculturation services that meet the practical needs of refugees and shares the gospel of Jesus Christ.
After Kaitlyn graduated from Texas A&M and married Cameron, she started teaching kindergarten at Richardson ISD. Cameron was attending Dallas Theological Seminary, and the couple desired to become missionaries in a 3rd world country after Cameron’s graduation.
Kaityln quickly learned her mission field was her sweet little classroom of kindergarteners. She had one student who spoke fluent English, and the remainder of the class represented 12 different countries. She realized that a majority of her students were refugees. Many of these students could barely speak English and had very few resources.
Kaitlyn discovered where many of her students lived one evening when she was taking a Salmiya girl in her class a coat. As she wandered through the apartment complex, little faces (which she recognized from school) were peeking at her through the windows. She observed that most the residents in the apartment complex were African refugees. That night, Kaitlyn’s eyes were opened to the tremendous amount of need. She stated, “I knew my calling was to help these refugee families. I kept asking myself, why are these people in this situation?”
After gaining the trust of several of her students’ parents, Kaitlyn began helping with basic needs that were so foreign and challenging to them: paying bills, filling out forms, navigating the medical system, etc. The main barrier these parents faced was their inability to read, write, and speak English. So, in the evenings, she would teach several of her students’ parents how to read and speak English. She also taught English to refugee children during the summer before they started school.
After three years of this routine of teaching kindergarten during the day and mentoring her students’ parents at night, Kaitlyn realized she was supporting and inspiring refugees full time.
Cameron had graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary and God was revealing to him that his calling was to stay in Dallas and work with people transplanted to the Richardson/Garland area from some of the darkest most depressed places in the world.
With God’s guidance, Kaitlyn and Cameron started For the Nations in 2011.
FOR THE NATIONS
For The Nations serves about 500 refugees each week and has a waiting list of 40 to 50 people. They serve refugees from Burma, North & South Sudan, Iraq, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Syria, and Congo. After arriving in the United States, the government provides these refugees with an average of 30 days of support. These men, women, and children do not want a hand out but a hand up; they need education and guidance. For The Nations meets these goals by providing high-quality, effective educational programs. They strive to teach English, literacy, and life skills while connecting refugees with the community. For The Nations takes it a step further by sharing the gospel with all refugees they serve.
The goal of acculturation is to help refugees become successful in the United States. Many refugees come to the United States with special skills and a high level of education. For The Nations helps these refugees find work that matches up with their talents. Each refugee is unique in his or her needs: some just need English classes while others need help navigating through the grocery store. Each week, the staff and volunteers at For The Nations conduct seminars on a variety of topics including budgeting, navigating the school system, getting a diver’s license, etc. Click here to see the list of classes.
Refugees have many language, literacy, and educational needs. Some refugees are looking to become proficient in English to perform entry-level jobs or speak English with their children. Others would like to practice the profession they learned in their home country.
Citizenship courses are also offered for those who have lived in the United States for over 5 years.
Last, For The Nations offers a wide variety of children’s programs from tutoring, preschool, reading, and summer swim lessons.
For The Nations incorporates the gospel message into every class, program, event, and meeting. They share the gospel openly and lovingly every day even though 60% of the refugees they serve are Muslim. They believe that kind, consistent repetition of the gospel in both word and deed is what God has called them to do. They believe that God’s message is not just for a few, but also for the nations.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
1. CONTRIBUTE: The Legacy Project is the $3 million capital campaign of For The Nations: Refugee Outreach (FTNRO) to purchase vacant land, construct a new school for refugees, and create an endowment fund to solidify both the fiscal responsibility and physical security of our future. This year alone, hundreds of refugees who need both education and assistance have been turned away because of our lack of classroom space. If they wish to continue performing amongst the top tier of refugee organizations in the DFW area and produce top-quality programming for their students, it is essential to expand their organizational and physical capacity.
2. NEED: For The Nations is in desperate need of a 15-passenger van or bus.
3. PRAY: For The Nations will continue to share the gospel to the Muslim people they serve, and they will hear the message.
4. VOLUNTEER: If you are interested in serving, consider volunteering to help with one of the following programs: Adult Programs, Children’s Programs, Monthly Outreach & Events, or Welcome Team.