There is much to celebrate during the summer, but here’s why we mark June 20th on our calendar. World Refugee Day is a time to celebrate culture and freedom and honor those who are displaced across the globe.

Nearly 90 million refugees have been forced to flee their homes due to religious, political, and ethnic persecution. Children account for 41 percent of the refugee population.

My wife and I have been committed to helping refugees locally in Tennessee since 2020. At times we have met with senators and mobilized letter writing campaigns but most of the time, we are sharing meals around a table and praying for the lost. We lead a group at our church with a missional focus on serving refugees in our community by building meaningful friendships, meeting needs, and sharing our faith.

In Myanmar, a man felt called into ministry. He completed seminary, started a family, and began pastoring a local church. In 2021 a civil war broke out as the government was overthrown by a military coup. He, his family, and his congregation had to flee into the jungle to escape the danger. Many more fled the cities and these Christians began caring for the displaced children in the jungle, discipling them, and providing hope in the midst of chaos.

When we saw that Agape Asia had presented an opportunity to sponsor a community of displaced children and local leaders in Myanmar, we felt a deep conviction to join as sponsors. We were encouraged to hear about this Christian community that shared our heart for the stranger. We wanted to see our love for the refugee multiplied, and partnering with the community in Myanmar was a chance for our family to support Christians on the front lines of the work. Through turbulent situations people are being brought into the light and the most vulnerable are restored with hope. Neither our family nor the pastor’s family in Myanmar began our walk with a vision for refugee ministry; we just knew God was calling us to follow Him and love who He loves.

– Tyler Carr