As we’ve toured and spoken about Status:Welcomed throughout New Zealand and Australia, we invite each audience into a time of questions and discussions. Often, we’re asked similar questions at each venue. We wanted to share some of those frequently asked questions with you now, just incase you were left asking them too.
Why New Zealand? Why Australia?
We prayed about where to do our Tour. Most teams before us have toured through North America, and some in Europe. We strongly felt that God wanted us to speak our message specifically in New Zealand and Australia now.
We chose to research the plight of refugees. Again, this was a prayerful decision that we felt God strongly leading. For the last 20 months we have been focused on those who are uprooted and displaced from their homes and land, shaping our pro-hospitality message.
How have you funded your travels?
This is the most consistently asked question, without fail. Each of us (Cat, Idun and Bethan) planned to do this around the world school for over a year before it started. We all worked saved money in that time. Some of us live just from those savings, some have monthly financial supporters that give consistently, and some have fundraised along the way. Each of us has a slightly different story for how we’ve paid for school fees and flight prices, but we’ve all had enough money to finish this travelling school of 21 months – that’s pretty remarkable! We point to God for that one.
Where is the money going that you raise on Tour?
If you’ve heard us speak in New Zealand, Australia or Canada, you’ll have seen us sell merchandise. We’ve been selling handmade tote bags, photo prints, postcards and buttons. We are raising money to give to two refugee aid organisations that we’ve worked alongside on our travels: one in South Africa (Adonis Musati Project) and one in Canada (Micah House). Both of these organisations impressed us massively with the work that they do, as well as heavily influencing our pro-hospitality message, and, basically, we want to give them as much money as we can.
How can I get involved if there are no refugees in my town?
Great question! Are you sure that there are no refugees in your town? If so, it still goes a long way to have an attitude that positively views refugees. Using your voice to challenge prejudices against asylum seekers and to acknowledge their worth and value is needed. We spoke at a Church in a small Australian town about the need for hospitality to aid a refugee’s transition into their new country. Instead of responding that our message was all well and good for others but one that they had no means of implementing (without refugees settled into their town), they responded that they could organise city-break days for refugee groups to come to their town, to be hosted by them and to see the lake. We were so impressed with their creativity and think that all of us can respond in aid to the refugee crisis, regardless of where we live.
Is it only Syrians that are in need?
The Syrian crisis has definitely got a lot of media coverage, which means it may seem as though Syrians are the only people in need of being resettled. In fact, all over the world there are places where masses are being displaced. To name a few: Myanmar, Colombia, South Sudan, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and more. Beyond national conflicts, people are also forced to flee their homes because of persecution and abuse. We’ve been impressed to hear communities strategise and offer to host/assist/sponsor Syrian refugee families in their transitions into a new country. Whilst this is great, it can give the impression that there is only work to be done once these Syrian families arrive. We’ve heard about refugees that have been settled into their new country for over a decade who still struggle with loneliness, exclusion, dissatisfaction with their employment and hopelessness in their prospects. We want to communicate that you don’t need to wait for new refugees to arrive in order to act – there likely are many already around you that could benefit from your interest and friendship now.