OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) — Shane and Mckenzie Robison are headed to Birmingham, England hoping to change the lives of refugees.
Officials say with 185 nationalities present, more than 25% of Birmingham’s population is born outside of the United Kingdom, and many are displaced there after leaving behind their war torn home countries.
“To make an impact for the gospel and, hopefully, to just change lives and help people understand that they can thrive even in a new setting — even with a lot of things that are changing and developing quickly around them,” said Shane Robison.
Shane is a student pastor at Owensboro Christian Church and a writer for The Owensboro Times. McKenzie was previously a speech-language pathologist and more recently worked at a local cafe.
The couple is partnering with an Owensboro non-profit called Emerge Global to pioneer a marketplace ministry.
After a 2-year residency, they’ll start a cafe of their own to provide jobs for refugees, tackle food insecurity and help those in need build up a resume for the long-term.
“This first year, as we go over and are living in Birmingham, we’re gonna be working with a church plant who has a café. [The church plant] uses that as their model to help sustain the church. So, Shane and I are gonna be working in that cafe during the weekend. Then, Shane’s also going to be doing pastoral counseling,” said Mckenzie Robison.
Officials say refugees average weekly pay is $8. Products sold from the Cafe will be on a “pay what you can” basis for refugees in the area.
“Hopefully it will also be a way to employ refugees but also give them a space where they can cook meals and we can provide food for them to take back to their families,’ said Shane.
The Robisons say they leave on Oct. 18.
“We haven’t put a cap on how long we’re going to be over in Birmingham. We’ve said atleast 5 years. We’re really just following the holy spirit and where he leads and what he has for us,” said Mckenzie Robison.
Anyone interested in giving can visit the Robisons website, here.