The United States has stood tall with our immigrant heritage on display as a symbol of hope for people all over the world seeking a better life. The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the people of France and she has watched over the New York Harbor since 1886. On her base is a table inscribed with these words: Give me your tired, Your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Some question whether the United States is still the land of the free. We all live in a world that is ever more structured with rules and laws constraining our choices. There are still pockets of the US where a person can go live “off the grid,” with relatively few restrictions, but most people dwell in a city competing for limited resources. But we still have the freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, and the right to petition the government. Freedom for some is pursuing the “American Dream” … to be brave and write your own future. Whether that’s improving your education, finding a job to support your family or starting your own business, you ultimately have control on the path you choose.

If you are an international student, you probably came to the United States seeking a better life. But you didn’t come as those described on the base of the Statue of Liberty. You came full of life, with money, singled apart from your peers as you strive to receive a global degree. Hopefully you felt welcomed to our land, accepted by your neighbors and challenged by the opportunity to make yourself and the world a better place.

 Christians believe the greatest freedom comes from the God who created us. The Bible records our history and how we rebelled against the rules put in place to protect us. But God sent Jesus to earth to show us The Truth that can set us free from the tyranny of our self and being a slave to sin.