Building Bridges Across Cultural Divides

Kansas Romportl is a 29-year-old evangelical who attends a mega-church in Roseville, Minnesota. She believes that God’s love extends equally to everyone and demonstrates this belief by helping welcome refugees and immigrants. She teaches newcomers how to plant and harvest, and she provides translation assistance to immigrants who need help navigating the healthcare system and the DMV. She also lent her voice to a documentary called “The Stranger,” which was produced by the Evangelical Immigration Table, a national coalition of the most influential evangelical organizations and leaders that are advocating for immigration reform.

Indeed, Romportl’s most meaningful life experiences have come from her time spent immersed in other cultures. During her first college mission trip to Mexico, a local pastor used imagery from Mexican culture—water cleanse the shore—to demonstrate Jesus’ purifying work. The illustration revealed a dimension of faith she hadn’t seen in American Christian imagery. As a college student at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, Romportl befriended people from across the globe and saw her world open up as she learned about their customs and beliefs.

For all these reasons, Romportl wants to see this same openness reflected in immigration policy. She wants so immigration reform that lets immigrants more easily obtain documentation and citizenship. “I was blessed to be born in the U.S.,” she says. “What are the odds? I have these rights that others should have too if they adhere to the laws. There should be equal opportunity for all immigrants.”

When Romportl hears evangelicals in the news hurl vitriol toward the immigrant community “it hurts my heart,” she says. It doesn’t reflect the views of the evangelicals in her mega-church, Substance Church, which has over 5,000 members. “Most of the evangelicals I know are open to immigrants and refugees, loving them like Christ did,” she says. Romportl hopes evangelicals opposed to immigrants change their tune and join the growing number of evangelicals unifying around comprehensive immigration reform.

After all, she says, “God is for all of us.”

About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…