Christmas in the Neighborhood

Merry Christmas from the neighborhood, Friend.


A few weeks ago, eight of the youth from our neighborhood sat around our dining room table. Over tacos and cokes, we listened to a pregnant seventeen year old tell us about the father of her baby, who had been arrested and deported. He was trying to get back into the country to take care of his child.

She last heard from him during a garbled phone call. He claimed to be in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Texas. He sounded like he was crying. She searched for his name in an online database of ICE detainees, and she couldn't find it. 

She thinks maybe a gang caught him and let him call her. Her baby is due in January, and it will be born into an uncertain future. Will its father be in the country? What will its mother do for work? Will deportation, illness, or violence break this home apart?

(Photograph by David Park)


This has been a heavy season for us. The youth here have made choices that we find troubling. Conflict has damaged a few friendships. Three teen girls are expecting. A climate of uncertainty hangs over lives here.

But it does us good to remember that all of the hope and peace and joy of Christmas came through a teen mother, unwelcome in Bethlehem, giving birth in dangerous, unsanitary circumstances, with a government set on wiping them out. In light of this story, we're in the right place to experience incarnation.


There is hope in Christ. His love meets us in our deepest need. He will make something beautiful in uncertain lives. His kingdom takes root in lives and blooms in the Father's time. We pray and work daily in this hope, and we invite you to join us in the days leading up to Christmas.

In 2014, we developed a team of local youth to run the after-school program. We formed an advisory team of seven wise women to help us seek God's direction in the coming years. Ruthie graduated from Lead Institute Atlanta equipped with vision and tools for growth. Ian joined staff full-time as Director of Communications. Jack got born!

The pieces are in place. We invite you to join us in seeing how God will work in the coming year. Here is a list of current opportunities to support the work:

  • We would like to be able to pay local leaders $500 per month to help the children with homework, feed meals, and run the after-school program.
  • Ruthie and I are still about $1,000 per month shy of meeting our monthly needs. Last year, we were able to raise a buffer for my job transition, but that will run out in January.
  • We need speaking opportunities to help connect us with churches and individuals who can support our work.

To make a tax-deductible donation securely via PayPal, please click here. To donate over the phone, please call Betty at FCS at (404) 627-4304.


Please contact us at to discuss speaking opportunities or to learn more about how you can volunteer with Refugee Beads. We'd love to have you on the team that brings God's love to life in a neighborhood of immigrants and refugees!

Merry Christmas,


Ian, Ruthie, and Jack

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