Kitti Murray once heard that 85 percent of immigrants to the United States have never been inside an American home, so she decided to do what she could to make people feel welcome. She didn’t build walls. Instead, she bought a food truck and outfitted it with an espresso machine.
Thanks in part to its location in Clarkston, Georgia—a UN-appointed resettlement community on the outskirts of Atlanta—her idea became Refuge Coffee Co., and it has both welcomed and caffeinated people from 48 countries since 2015. But Murray doesn’t just serve refugees; she hires them, too. Among her baristas are a pharmacist from Syria, an electrical engineer from Ethiopia, and a schoolteacher from the Congo.
In His Word, God has much to say about the care of the outsider. According to Murray, those instructions are a tangible expression of who He is. “In the New Testament,” she said, “many parables are about refugees finding a home. Jesus said that’s what the kingdom of heaven is like.”
She admits that it sometimes feels impractical to build a new life by peddling lattes, “But when a refugee walks up to the truck and sees another refugee serving him, he realizes he’s included.” And Murray’s knack for hospitality doesn’t end at closing time. After hours, when the truck is shuttered and her doorbell rings unexpectedly—as it often does—she pushes open her front door, invites the visitor into her living room, and puts on a pot of coffee.
Photography by Artem Nazarov