Though abortion may serve as the initial introduction to life issues for many young people, today’s youth are looking for ways to support life in other arenas as well. Concordia Chicago’s Y4Life Team, CUC4Life, has had much success engaging students on campus by offering opportunities to learn about the issues facing their community. One particular educational event turned out to be eye-opening, thought-provoking, and life-affirming!
“CUC4Life decided to diversify a little this semester, and we took the opportunity to learn more about the refugee crisis and how we can support those individuals in the context of life issues,” Jesse Muehler, co-leader of CUC4Life said. “We were able to partner with Exodus World Service to bring a refugee simulation to campus so our students had the opportunity to gain insight into the lives of those individuals who are affected by war, persecution, and the other trials and tribulations of our sinful world.”
Nicole Chappell, CUC4Life’s other co-leader, believes the experience was worthwhile. In addition to the simulation, the college students were given facts about life as a refugee and time to reflect on how they might handle the same trials. “I learned so much about the different things that refugees might experience as they run for their lives, and it made me realize how much of my life I truly take for granted,” Nicole said. “Something that really hit hard was learning how long the average stay was in a refugee camp and how little help they had.”
Not only did the students involved in the simulation learn a great deal, but they were also given opportunities to empathize with refugees, creating compassion for those suffering the loss of their homes; countries; and, in many cases, families.
Mackenzie Jean-Marcoux, a freshman at CUC who played the role of a smuggler in the simulation, agreed that the simulation and opportunity for reflection were powerful.
“After volunteering at the refugee simulation at CUC, my entire perception of refugees has changed …. Being able to see just a portion of what refugees go through was heartbreaking … [and] the idea of children having to endure the hardship and fear that goes along with being forced to flee their homes is devastating.”
The topic of refugees certainly carries with it political undertones—and polarizing opinions in the media—but the CUC4Life Team recognized that the deeper issue was really an issue of LIFE. “The refugee simulation provided us with an opportunity to talk about life issues with students from all walks of life, and it allowed us to open up a conversation that might not have been otherwise possible,” Jesse said. “We were able to discuss the intrinsic value and sanctity of life, knowing that regardless of the circumstances or context a person finds themselves in, he or she is worthy of love and protection.”
It is exciting to hear about the life-affirming success CUC4Life is having, and we pray God’s continued blessing on their service. If you would like more information about how to start a Y4Life Team, or if you have a story to share, please contact Michelle Bauman, Director of Y4Life, at firstname.lastname@example.org.