In 1982, Knoxville became a City of Refuge. Since that time, over 2000 families have settled here with 54 families being added each year. One hundred and twenty nations are represented in Knoxville making it one of the top 10 suburbs with the fastest growing immigrant population. Recently, God has opened doors for some of us to minister and work with a local Muslim refugee sewing group called Intertwined. Matt and Susan Nance worked with Intertwined's parent organization before God called them into ministry overseas.
Some may ask why should we care about refugees or immigrants? We must remember that many of our patriarchs in the Old Testament were immigrants or refugees - Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Ruth, and Daniel. Even Jesus was a refugee in Egypt. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were commanded to welcome strangers and have compassion on the aliens in their land. In the New Testament, we area familiar with the story of the Good Samaritan and ultimately the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:16-20 commands and compels us to go to all nations with the message of the redemptive power of Christ. We have been given the unique opportunity to be a living expression of Christian love, compassion and giving in our community.