Middle Eastern People
We aim to present a faithful witness to the Arab Muslim immigrant community in a large metro area in Central USA, drawing people to follow Jesus and to join a church plant which promotes following Jesus in the manner of the Anabaptists.
Blessing the Foreigner and the Stranger
Today, there are many displaced people in the world. Conflicts have caused people to flee to different parts of their country or to other countries. Economic factors have caused others to head towards somewhere with more opportunity. As people who are not involved in government policies, is there anything for us to do? Are there ways that we can be of service to refugees and recent immigrants? It is only reasonable as followers of
Jesus that we would want to make the most of our time on this earth and live and work in places where there is more opportunity to be of service for our Lord. Thankfully, there is plenty that the people of God can contribute without even leaving the US.
Many towns and cities in the US have large populations of recent immigrants or refugees. There they have family or friends and thus more opportunities to find work, housing, and friendship. There are also cities where resettlement agencies tend to resettle refugees. We were particularly interested in one city that had a large population of people of Middle Eastern descent. We moved to this city a few years ago to begin the work of starting a church.
We are taking a two-pronged approach. One prong is to focus on being people of blessing in society. The other is, of course, to do what Christians do and present the gospel. When we first moved here, we looked for any possible way to get to know people. In an area where there are recent immigrants, there is almost always a need for English classes and I began offering them in our home. This proved to be a wonderful way to help others improve their English, as well as creating valuable friendships. Teaching English is wonderful because of the fact that you are talking with people. Because following our Lord affects all areas of our life, speaking of Christ naturally comes up in conversation.
One young English student stayed late talking after classes and joined us for Bible reading and singing together as a family. We spent much time talking about the way of Jesus with this person. Then there is another young man who is asking questions about our faith. When we talked about the new birth and what it means to have your heart changed (which is what the prophets of old said the Messiah would do), he said there is nothing like this in Islam.
Recently we had the opportunity to host a refugee family in our home for a couple months. The two boys spoke very limited English when they came, and the parents spoke almost no English. It made it interesting for my wife to communicate with the mother when they were sharing the kitchen. We were also blessed with much wonderful Middle Eastern food. The friendship that was started in those two months continues, and we visit each other often. We have driven them places before they had a car and went with one of the sons for a job interview and orientation. In addition to teaching English, there have been opportunities for visiting and praying for the sick. A smile and friendly questions about someone’s life are something we can all do. Connecting with strangers often takes time. We have found that seeking to focus on living open lives and being open people has paid dividends.
Our home is an open place where people are welcome. In the summer, there are often children walking in and out of our house throughout the day. Our children are a great blessing in many ways. They help to quickly break the ice. Their friendships with children in the community has made it possible for us to have friendships with the children’s parents.
As conservative Anabaptist, we don’t send our sons to war or to serve in government positions. We will do well to set the precedent in our families and churches of purposely seeking to be a people of blessing in our society. We cannot simply live lives of ease and enjoy the nice life in America and say that we are doing a better work if we actually aren’t. Not everyone is called to work among immigrants, but there are plentiful and increasing opportunities for this work to happen right on our doorstep.
More team members are needed – singles, couples, and families.
Consider joining us in a small city in the central United States. You can buy a house for an affordable price, work a job, and find practical ways to serve the Middle Eastern community.
Potential activities include:
- Hosting English classes
- Leading Bible studies
- Business as Mission
- Language study
- Refugee assistance