Pastor Clay Schmit
Coming to America
My DNA/Ancestory website tells me that we all come from Africa. When we were in South Africa two years ago, we learned that there is a museum situated in the geographic location where the human species began. The place is what we might call the Garden of Eden. From there humans migrated north through the rest of Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. They went to Asia and eventually across a land bridge between Russia and Alaska. Southward the migration continued, populating North, Central, and South America. This means that those we refer to as First Nations could also be called our first immigrants.
We are blessed beyond measure to live in a land where our freedoms and lifestyles are attractive to other peoples. We have been receiving immigrants and refugees for centuries. The wars we have engaged in through the decades have had a huge toll on the world’s people. Once again, we have people coming to us, eager to take up a new life in this land of freedom and opportunity.
What I am so pleased to see, regarding the Afghan refugees coming to Central Wisconsin, is that there seems to be no political wrangling about receiving these people. Most of them were placed in harm’s way in their homeland because they assisted the United States in our war efforts. Everyone now seems to agree, thankfully, that we owe them a place among us. I am hearing no concerns for an influx of Muslims into our communities. Only a desire to make them all feel welcome and to settle them into new and productive lives here in our area. We know how to do this. We have done it before. We are blessed, for example, by the Hmong people who have come to call our region home. Now, we will become even more blessedly diverse.
Care for the orphan, the widow, and the foreigners among us is one of the most resounding lessons in scripture. Receiving our Afghan friends will be a blessing to all of us. Lutheran Social Services is at the forefront of this effort. I will keep an eye on their progress and let you know when we can do something more concrete than sending supplies to Fort McCoy. Any who wish to do this can drop new merchandise (especially shoes, boots, and coats) in the box outside the church doors until the end of this month. Then, when the people are placed in local communities, we will learn how to help. I hope you will join me in wishing them well in their coming to America.