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Reaching Refugees in North America

• Engaging in Holistic Ministry

Reaching Refugees in North America

by Maaika Smith, serving in USA
“Lord, let them ask.” That was my prayer for a Syrian family that my ministry partner and I were about to visit. Every time we get together, we sit, have tea, and learn from each other. My coworker and I share Bible stories, and the family always receives them with gratitude. But it can be difficult to know if they’re just being polite, or if they’re really listening and desiring these Jesus stories that we tell them.

To glimpse what a Syrian family has faced as they fled their country, you have only to watch the news. After nine years of war, more than half the population of Syria has been forced to flee their homes. Many Syrian children have lost a parent, sibling, or close relative, and thousands have been orphaned or separated from their families. Refugee families fleeing conflict are being relocated to places like Phoenix, Arizona, where I live and minister.

Before we enter this Syrian home, we pray, “Lord, let them ask us to retell a story that we’ve told before!” As we drank tea, the eldest daughter asked if we could again tell her the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. Then, her father chimed in and asked if we could retell the story of Jesus walking on the water. The eldest son added his request too, saying that he would like to hear about how Jesus died.
We looked at one another with joy at the encouragement that God was answering our prayer! Only He can soften a heart to desire stories about Jesus, and only He can bring transformation. All we can do is be faithful to share. God’s answer to our prayer gave us a deeper glimpse into His faithfulness and the work that He’s doing. And we say, “Thank you, Lord!”

Our ministry to refugees in North America begins with relationships and reaching out to meet very real daily needs. By engaging in holistic ministry, we are seeing friendship and trust grow. God is moving right here at our own doorstep, bringing the unreached to our shores. Look around, the fields are white with harvest!

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