“The Valuable Contribution of Refugees,” Liahona, 2017 Digital Articles
Boone Chen’s journey from refugee to missionary was filled with danger, difficult choices, and divine intervention. (Read about Boone’s harrowing flight to freedom in the Ensign article “Seeking Refuge, Finding Peace.”) But like many other stories about refugees, his ends with the desire and ability to give back.
Given the opportunity, many refugees become significant contributors to the communities that take them in and get them back on their feet.
Sister Beth Beck, who lived in the ward where Boone Chen first attended church, notes: “From the start, Boone had a positive outlook and an eagerness to be a part of what the Church had to offer. His interest and appreciation for the prospects provided to him gave an invaluable lesson to the rest of the boys, who might have otherwise been passive about being members of the Church, holding the priesthood, or participating in Scouting. I hope people understand that helping refugees gives back multiple blessings to those who extend their hands and hearts to them.”
During general conference in April 2016, Elder Patrick Kearon of the Seventy reminded us of the valuable knowledge and experiences refugees can bring to our communities:
“Being a refugee may be a defining moment in the lives of those who are refugees, but being a refugee does not define them. Like countless thousands before them, this will be a period—we hope a short period—in their lives. Some of them will go on to be Nobel laureates, public servants, physicians, scientists, musicians, artists, religious leaders, and contributors in other fields. Indeed, many of them were these things before they lost everything. This moment does not define them, but our response will help define us” (“Refuge from the Storm,” Ensign, May 2016, 114).