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 like 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.
This Job Skills Training placement will provide a very valuable and practical service to the Somali Bantu adults and teenagers. As refugees who have entered American life with no strong context or knowledge of how to work and function in a work situation, members of the SB community will benefit greatly as they learn skills from Goers who can help with hands-on instruction and encouragement. Working with other team members and volunteers, your positive and humble assistance will make a significant difference in the lives of people who need to experience the love and truth of God lived out in practical ways by His people.
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 of culture and a lack of experiences common to modern functioning of American jobs and businesses. The Goer may have the opportunity to work with people from different age groups, from teens to older adults. The Goer will need a patient, humble, and positive attitude. He or she must be confident in their ability to instruct adults of all ages in a range of skills necessary in today's job situations, perhaps related to the IT industry or more basic skills such as operating machinery or navigating a set of instructions. It would also be helpful to be able to explain basic social practices that are second nature to those of us who have grown up in American society.