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Welcoming Our Neighbors - A Workshop with Julie Ramos Lagos

By: Dave Stucke, Dakotas Conference Communications

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Julie Ramos Lagos, a business and ministry coach, presented a workshop at 1pm on June 9th, 2022, at the Dakotas Annual Conference in Bismarck, North Dakota. Her workshop, "Welcoming Our Neighbors", was borne out of her experience and life work in ministry.Ramos Lagos says, “My life has always been on an amazing spiritual journey and being a Christian is a major part of who I am and how I work.” Julie grew up in North Dakota, and traveled the world extensively before returning to Tioga, North Dakota to be near family. She has worked with immigrants and refugees for over 25 years and is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Mary.

She shared the podium for a time with her husband, Jairo Ramos Lagos, who grew up in Honduras, working on his father’s coffee plantation since he was six years old, and told stories of his immigration path to North Dakota, where he arrived in the month of February.

Julie Ramos Lagos shared that most of us are either immigrants, or descendants of immigrants. Her work with immigrants and refugees has taught her many valuable lessons, especially viewed through a biblical lens. Jesus himself was born of refugees, as were many of his ancestors. Many of them told of their encounters with angels, sent by God, to help them in times of uncertainty and need. We can be a kind of angel to new Americans here in our own hometowns. Strangers can come from many different places, both near and far. The only difference between them and our immigrating ancestors is the time we/they came to this region.

She explained, in detail, the types of new neighbors we might have, and what they have gone through to become our neighbors. She listed refugees, asylees, immigrants, parolees, and Native Americans (members of any indigenous group from North, South, or Central America).

The biggest struggle for most of our new neighbors is networking. When we can listen to them, to their stories, and offer our time and compassion, we can help them with crucial networking to make them feel welcomed, accepted, and appreciated. They, in the process, can can actually be angels to us. The things she recommended that we offer are mentoring, education, storytelling, advocacy, and community. We can be host families or host churches. There are many ways to share God’s love with our new neighbors. It’s actually much easier than we might imagine! Watch her workshop below:

 

 

UMC

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