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Many Christians in the USA today view the influx of immigrants to our country as a positive factor. Why? For centuries, Christians have gone to the darkest places in the world to reach people with the good news of salvation in Jesus. But now the world is coming to us.

Immigrants who come from Islamic countries are not allowed to listen to the Christian message in their countries of origin. They have had no religious freedom. People from many countries who come here as refugees do not have Bibles to study. Many do not read. When they come to the United States, some will learn to read, and their children will certainly learn. This gives them the freedom to study the Bible for themselves and take advantage of the many Christian books available in our marketplaces, something they would not have in their homeland. For the first time, they will truly have religious freedom, to decide for themselves what they will believe.

This affects how many of us view immigration. While we want to see secure borders, we also want to see increased opportunities for refugees and immigrants to come to this country legally. And we do not just mean the talented people, either!

Christian Broadcasting Network lists nine things the Bible tells us to do for refugees: Treat refugees the way you want to be treated. Provide food for the needy and the foreigner. Love them. Do not abuse them. Fight for justice for foreigners living among us. Open our doors to the traveler. Invite the stranger in. Love our neighbor. Show mercy to our neighbor.

So when peace-loving Mexican and Central American families come across the border seeking safety and a better life, we do not want their children taken from them. We do not want to see them incarcerated like criminals. They are coming from lands where war and lawlessness rage. They do not understand our laws or customs. Therefore, they need to be taken in, cared for and educated in what will be expected of them in this country, so that they will be successful here. It is up to Christians to welcome these refugees and immigrants, to love them and to introduce them to Jesus. (This attitude does not apply to drug runners and criminals who are invading forces bent on our destruction.)

I agree with King David's words in Psalm 146:9. "The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow...." I want to see our country show the same concern over those who come to our borders fleeing oppression and war. America has about 4.4 percent of the world's population and about 6 percent of the world's land mass. Our government owns vast lands in the western states. We have the room for refugees and immigrants. So let's help them.

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Sheri Schofield

Helena

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