2016 marked the 25th anniversary of World Relief Jacksonville under the guidance of its original director, Elaine Carson (fondly known as Mrs. P). WRJ's history is also Mrs. P's story and life's work in Jacksonville.
In 1961, during a college Bible study, Mrs. P was called to help those oppressed behind the Iron Curtain. However, God spent the next 27 years preparing her for that calling through her life as a missionary, pastor's wife and mother. Finally in 1988, while working as a resettlement volunteer for Lutheran Social Services in Jacksonville, God opened the door sending Jacksonville's first Ukrainian extended family of 32 to Mrs. P’s door, literally. God continued to prepare and bless as she worked as a volunteer for three years, until World Relief Tampa asked her to open a part-time Jacksonville sub-office in September 1991. Jacksonville’s climate, affordable housing, job opportunities and Mrs. P’s persistence, led to the birth of the WRJ office in 1998. WRJ served refugees from the former Soviet Union with a paid staff of one and many volunteers.
Since then, WRJ has resettled refugees and survivors of human trafficking from countries all across the globe. Over the years the office has grown into a unique and multicultural staff which represents over a dozen different cultures and languages.