You Welcomed Me: Loving Refugees and Immigrants Because God First Loved Us
by Kent Annan
Reviewed by Clint Walker
Kent Annan has written a thoughtful, grace-filled book on an issue that is difficult for many American believers to come to terms with, namely the issue of how do we deal with immigrants and refugees. He communicates winsomely about the plight of refugees by not only sharing bible verses and statistics, but by sharing stories of his personal experience and the experience of refugees. Throughout the book it becomes apparent that Annan wants us to move from seeing the immigration and refugee crises we face as issues or crisis to opportunities for real ministry with real people that need our support and love. He also wants us to encounter Christ through the practice of welcoming strangers.
From the start, Annan wants to ground his readers with empathy for other human beings, realizing that if for the grace of God, "that could be me" (p.5). He cautions us against letting fear blind us to real human connection. Early on, he asks readers to measure their lives by the "Dehumanizing Your Neighbor Scale" ( pp. 19-20) and the "Good Samaratin Scale (p. 20).
You Welcomed Me attempts to not just move us to awareness and agreement, but offers practices of welcome that will move us toward action in the Biblical command of welcoming the stranger. These practices are at the end of each chapter. Also, there are chapters dedicated to practical action, and an appendix with further resources and organizations that help refugees and immigrants.
I think this is a great book for a congregation to read about an important challenge the church faces. I hope small groups, Sunday School classes, and book clubs get a hold of it and take it to heart.