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April-May 2022

Everyday Discipleship


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My American Dream

By Casey Jones


As a 25-year-old man, bundled up against the harsh Ukrainian winter, I stood for 30 minutes watching people to figure out how to ride the bus. A simple task, but new to the culture and language, it didn’t come easily or quickly to me.

Fast-forward to my return to the United States. I watched my international friends struggle through our American systems. They experienced the same confusion I encountered serving overseas. My friends were victimized because they didn’t know our culture, language, or systems. I knew something had to change, so I started advocating for them and walking alongside them. I helped them navigate doctors’ visits and insurance, understand their basic rights as tenants, find employment and adequate housing, or simply open a bank account. I loved it.

Slowly, my efforts morphed into what has become the American Dream Center. I started this nonprofit organization in fall 2017. We help families achieve their American dream, believing everyone deserves to flourish in the country they call home. Why do we do this? It is simple: God has commanded us to care for the foreigner as ourselves, to love our neighbor as ourselves. Multiple Scripture verses, from both Old and New Testaments, refer to taking care of the foreigner (sometimes called strangers or sojourners), treating them with the same respect offered to native-born citizens.


The American Dream Center assists immigrants in three main areas. First, with immigration legal services we help them navigate the confusing process of immigration. Second, we provide advocacy and assistance. Things like insurance, driver’s licenses and car registrations, enrolling kids in school, doctor visits, and renter’s rights fall into this area. Finally, we help them find good, honest employment by providing resume building and classes in interview skills.

After her citizenship swearing-in ceremony, one Mexican woman tearfully thanked us. “I can’t believe I’m done. I thought this would never happen.”

It’s amazing to walk alongside people and help them over their hurdles. They are grateful someone has taken time to help. One woman said, “American Dream Center has been amazing, helping my husband and me with his immigration process. At every step, they have been in full communication about what is needed and what to expect. They made us feel like they only want the best for us and wanted us to succeed in the process.”

Leaving a job interview, a Syrian man turned to me and asked, “Why are you doing this?”
I quickly replied, “Jesus loves you, and so do I.” This man and his family started a Bible study not long after.

The nations are here! God has made missions easy. No longer do I have to travel across the globe; I simply need to cross the street. During the past year we helped more than 100 families from 46 countries. People from countries I will never visit now live in my own backyard. We help provide their physical needs so we can share the Good News with them and meet their spiritual needs. People from closed countries hear the gospel for the first time because American Dream Center welcomes them.

May we never forget Jesus’ powerful words: “When I was a stranger, you welcomed me.”

About the writer: Former missionary to Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Ivory Coast, Romania, and Panama, Casey Jones is executive director of the American Dream Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a partner organization of IM, Inc. Learn more:


©2022 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists