The word “refugee” sparks many different emotions these days, particularly in the current political climate. However, what if the reason why some (or perhaps even all) refugees were ripped out of their homes was by the design of our sovereign God, to give people who otherwise would potentially never have had a chance to hear the Good News about Jesus to suddenly be in an environment in which they could regularly be in contact with His followers and freely hear the message? Such is the situation with a people group from one of the least-reached nations in the world, who now are trying to build new lives in the U.S. The East African country from which they came has been firmly closed to Gospel workers for over 25 years (and in some ways even longer than that) and is well known for its persecution of Christian converts. These tribes lived in remote, rural regions of that country, and so, within their devout Muslim context, had very little chance that they would ever hear the Gospel.
Yet, after experiencing horrific atrocities at the hands of their fellow countrymen during a devastating civil war, they fled to refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia. They waited many years to find a new home, and now they find themselves welcomed by the U.S. government to be resettled in America. As a communal society, they are drawn to gather together in pockets of the country, and so one of these communities in a city in the northeastern U.S. is now comprised of over 95 families and 550 people. This community functions as a single entity, and so, in essence, they have formed a new village tribal structure within the confines of a much larger city. But they have arrived without the language, education, and skills necessary to assimilate into the socio-economic fabric of life in America.
This has led to a unique opportunity in which this community has reached out for assistance. As a result, God has raised up a team of workers who have been able to engage in meeting some of their practical needs, providing a platform and level of trust in which the team can share about the difference that Jesus has made in their lives. This has resulted in a significant shift in the community’s openness to be in relationship with followers of Jesus and to hear the message that they bring.
It is within this context that you can bring your skill as an asset to an underserved and, in many ways, invisible community inside of the urban mosaic, in order to shine the light of Jesus and share about the difference that He has made in your life, with those who have never heard about Him before.
If you have a heart of compassion and a desire to practically serve the needs of the Muslim community that demonstrates God's love in a hands-on way, this may be the ministry for you! This ministry seeks to serve through handling the materials and stock that comes in as donations, moving needed items from one location to another, sorting and packing - as well as relating with love and respect to the members who come in to receive the donations. The emphasis on this ministry is to meet the felt needs of the Somali Bantu community. In relieving the immediate practical needs, the Goer is able to build trust, participate in positive interaction, open doors of relationship - demonstrate the love of Christ!
A Goer who will thrive in this position must have a desire to serve a community of refugees from an African country closed to the Gospel, who have a very different understanding and experience of American culture. By ministering to the members of the Somali Bantu community, Christ's love is clearly demonstrated.
The Goer who feels led to enter into this Community Service and Development ministry must have a willing and humble spirit, energy and physical strength handle a high level of physical work, and the ability to plan or strategize to keep several elements working smoothly together to achieve a desire goal.