Member prepares to give legal advice to vulnerable neighbors

Last month Outreach Ministries Fund covered the cost to send two volunteers through a 40-hour Basic Immigration Law Course put on by World Relief at Gordon College, including NSCBC’s very own Russ Bjork. This was an important part of helping Open Door Immigration Services (ODIS) open its doors in Salem.

Established by Highrock Church members, ODIS is a nonprofit organization enabling our sister church to love and to serve its neighbors in Salem by providing affordable immigration legal services. Recognized by the Department of Justice (DOJ), ODIS is able to assist in United States Citizenship and Immigration Services applications, providing support to families who have no access to other immigration services or who do not have the ability to pay the customary fee charged by immigration attorneys.

This work came about as Highrock considered how their congregation could live out the Gospel in the context of their city. ODIS exists to build up their neighbors and contribute to a safe and healthy community. They:

  • Show respect for the God-given dignity and value inherent in every person;
  • Contribute to the rule of law, helping poor immigrants who would otherwise not be able to navigate the complicated US immigration system;
  • Safeguard minors and the unity of families;
  • Protect the most vulnerable of our neighbors from abuse and exploitation;
  • Provide high-quality, confidential, legal counsel and support throughout the immigration process; and
  • Practice stewardship of taxpayer and donor resources through diligent processing and reporting.

The training that Russ attended prepared him to provide legal advice. Booking these training hours was a critical part of allowing ODIS to become recognized by the Department of Justice and to open their doors. Russ shared,

“One thing that really stuck with me during the training was a devotional given before the start of the session. The presenter pointed out how many key figures in Scripture were, in fact, immigrants or asylees. Abraham lived in Canaan as an immigrant, Moses lived 40 years as an asylee in Midian to avoid being killed by Pharaoh, David spent time as an asylee in Gath to avoid being killed by Saul, and Jesus had to be taken to asylum in Egypt to avoid being killed by Herod. Scripture makes it clear that aliens – along with widows and orphans – are people for whom God has a special concern.”

Through Outreach Ministries Fund, NSCBC contributes to projects that advance evangelistic and social service needs both local and worldwide. An exciting part of OMF is that the requests often offer an opportunity to support the passion projects of our very own church members and world partners, or those of neighbors and friends. If you are involved in your local community (or anywhere else in the world) and have a project that needs financial support, we invite you to read more and apply on the church website or speak with OMF Chair, Anne Bajema.