We are grateful for all those contributing as plenary speakers at the 2018 RHPNA Roundtable. More speakers will be added to this page in the coming weeks.
D.L. Mayfield has lived and worked in refugee communities in the US for 14 years (including Portland, OR and Minneapolis). She writes for mostly faith-based publications–including Christianity Today, Sojourners, and Image Journal–about how to love our neighbors well in an unjust and unequal world. Her book, Assimilate or Go Home: Notes from a Failed Missionary on Rediscovering Faith, centers on her relationships with refugee families and how they have challenged and deepened her Christian faith.
Daniel Yang is the Director of the Send Institute, leading and overseeing all of its initiatives. Prior to directing the institute, he planted a church in Toronto where he also helped recruit, assess, and train church planters through the Send Network and the Release Initiative. Daniel has served on various church staffs including Northwood Church, led by Bob Roberts Jr., where he was trained as a church planter and involved in global and multi-faith engagement. Prior to church planting, Daniel was an engineer for eight years. He earned an M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Michigan, and is currently a Ph.D. Intercultural Studies student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair for Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College. Ed also serves as the Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center, and as chair of the Evangelism and Leadership Department in the Graduate School.
Ed is a prolific author, and well-known conference speaker. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written a dozen books and hundreds of articles. Stetzer is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited or interviewed in news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He is also the Executive Editor of The Gospel Project, which is used by over 1 million individuals each week.
Stetzer co-hosts (with John Stonestreet) BreakPoint This Week, a radio show started and formerly hosted by Chuck Colson, and now airing on over 400 media outlets.
He is the interim teaching pastor at Moody Church, a historic congregation in downtown Chicago.
With a Bible College and Seminary education (CBC, CTS and Regent), James Grunau worked in two different church ministries before moving to Canada’s West Coast in the mid 1980s. Here he detoured into the business world where he spent 20 years in the home renovation business, serving as manager in various departments and finally as general manager of the company. Feeling his heart moving him in a different direction, he helped found Journey Home Community in 2005, an initiative of his church home group in its outreach to newly arriving asylum seeker families. He serves as Executive Director of Journey Home Community and is a member of the leadership team of the Refugee Highway Partnership, North American Region.
Jason Clarke has over a decade for foreign affairs experience as the co-founding president and director of Seek The Peace, a US-based peace-building and refugee advocacy organization. He also currently holds the position of Strategic Advisor for Policy and Advocacy at We Welcome Refugees, a national refugee advocacy organization, and he works with multiple countries and organizations on strategy while also
representing several organizations at the United Nations with the Kinsmen Group, where he is the founding partner.
Jason holds an M.A. in International Affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a B.A. in Law and Society from The Pennsylvania State University. His professional and academic focus has included conflict transformation, mediation and negotiation, refugees and forced migration in the Middle East and United States, and advocacy and strategy.
Lina Abujamra is a Pediatric ER doctor and founder of Living with Power Ministries. Her vision is to bring hope to the world by connecting Biblical answers to everyday life.
Lina has authored several books including: Thrive. The Single Life as God Intended, Stripped. When God ´s Call Turns from Yes to Why Me? and Resolved. 10 Ways to Stand Strong and Live What You Believe. You can listen to Lina’s podcast on iTunes or Podbean and watch her inspiring thousands via the Faith Booster series and other Bible teachings on YouTube and Vimeo. Lina is the host of Today’s Single Christian on Moody Radio and the host of Morning Minutes, a daily audio devotional available on her website and app.
Lina has spent the last 15 years speaking at conferences, college chapels, and retreats. She gained experience teaching Bible studies while directing the women’s ministry for 3 years at Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadows, IL. She now spends most of her time traveling all over the world telling others about God’s love. Her teaching will ignite your heart and life for Jesus.
Lina’s most recent adventure has taken her back to the Middle East and her birth country, Lebanon, where she is providing regular medical care for Syrian refugees. Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Lina now calls Chicago home.
Matthew Soerens serves as the U.S. Director of Church Mobilization for World Relief and as the National Coordinator for the Evangelical Immigration Table, a coalition of evangelical organizations of which World Relief is a founding member.
Matthew is the co-author of Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis (Moody Publishers, 2016) and Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate (InterVarsity Press, 2018). He has also written for various print and online publications, including Christianity Today, The New York Times, USA TODAY, FoxNews.com, Sojourners and The Gospel Coalition. He has been honored for his advocacy on behalf of immigrant communities by the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, and the White House.
Rondell Treviño is the Founder of The immigration Project—a faith-based organization that inspires the Church to view Immigration and love Immigrants the way God intended. Before founding The immigration Project, Rondell worked as a Southeast Mobilizer for the Evangelical Immigration Table and also served for two years as a Pastoral Resident at Fellowship Memphis Church.
Rondell speaks on issues of Immigration from a biblical perspective at Churches, organizations, and conferences throughout the country–and meets with legislators on how to better create, implement, and sustain just and good Immigration policies and practices geared toward the flourishing of society. Rondell received a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies from Belhaven University (2014), and a Master of Divinity from Capital Seminary and Graduate School (2016). Rondell is happily married to Laura Treviño, and is the proud father to Sofia Treviño.
Sandra Ryan has served among forcibly displaced peoples throughout her ministry. Her first ministry appointment with The Salvation Army was in a First Nations village in Northern British Columbia where she experienced the strength and beauty of real community among forcibly displaced peoples in Canada. While serving in Russia from 1991 – 2000, she had the opportunity to oversee a team to initiate school programs and children’s feeding programs among the Chechan population living in camps and settlements in Ingushetia.
After serving in Russia for almost a decade, she returned to Canada and had the privilege of living and working in the Regent Park community of Toronto, which became home to immigrants and refugees from around the world. Having witnessed the transformative power of loving your neighbour, she is passionate about facilitating the development of healthy, inclusive communities.
Sandra Ryan now oversees the local and global mission for The Peoples Church Toronto. One of the mission priorities for this congregation is to welcome and support refugees in Canada and along the refugee highway. In response to the challenges and opportunities presented by the international refugee reality, she has joined the leadership team that started the International Association for Refugees in Canada. Their mandate is to support community discussions and development programs initiated through the local Churches serving refugee populations around the world.
Dr. Saul Ebema is the Senior Pastor of Lombard Bible Church. Over the years, Dr. Ebema has worked tirelessly highlighting the suffering of the people in South Sudan and advocating for peace there in his homeland and locally here as a church leader and pastoral counselor. As a former refugee himself, his passion to help refugees has seen him partner with world relief DuPage/Aurora.
Dr. Ebema received his under graduate degree at the Baptist Convention College in South Africa. From there he received a presidential scholarship to attend Northern Seminary in 2005. He graduated from Northern Seminary with both his Masters of Divinity and the Doctorate in Ministry Degrees. Dr. Ebema is married to Cynthia and together they have two kids Liron and Hope.
Chantel Varnado, Worship Leader
Chantel Varnado has worked as a Worship Arts Director overseeing many areas in church music ministry including worship teams, drama, specialty arts, choirs and creative arts. She has been a worship leader and a speaker in various denominations for church services, conferences and retreats.
As a gifted singer and songwriter, she expresses her love for God and effectively leads others in a deeper experience of worship. Chantel has been featured on many worship projects and has just reordered her first worship album, entitled Kingdom United, scheduled to be released in the first quarter of 2019.
Chantel currently serves as the Worship Arts Director at Grace and Peace Church in the Austin area of Chicago, IL. She is invited to lead in worship, train and equip, and share her story across the country.