The question, which a lawyer asked Jesus long ago, rings down through the ages to us today: “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29).
Who are these battered, abused people arriving in our cities speaking strange languages? Can we just ignore them and hope they manage somehow or go back to where they came from?
During the last few years, thousands of refugees have been resettled in the United States. They come from Burundi, Tanzania, Iraq, Burma, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Congo and Nepal. They are those people for whom you prayed because they were being persecuted. Now here they are at your doorstep.
Are you a young person looking for adventure, wanting to learn another language, hoping for a trip overseas? Look closer. They are all around you. Go to the international clubs on the university campus and offer to help.
Perhaps you are someone who likes to go to Chinese restaurants. Find out what dialect of Chinese your hosts speak, go on the Internet to globalrecordings.net and find gospel recordings in their language. Introduce them to Christ.
Go to the international specialty stores, the Asian grocery stores, the Somali goat meat markets and the 99-cent store run by Vietnamese immigrants. Make friends. Lead them to Christ.
Are you newly retired, wondering what to do with your time, planning games of shuffleboard or miniature golf? Spend some of your extra hours teaching English to some refugees. Find an ESL (English as a second language) book at the bookstore and start reading it. Attend ESL classes. God will renew your strength.
Are you a former missionary? Your language skills are precious. Ask God to lead you to those needing translators. Because of the many options presented by a single telephone call, you can help them through the mazes of life in the United States. You will find them quick to learn and grateful for your help. Find Bibles in their languages at bibleinmylanguage.com or multilanguage.com.
Is God calling you to the nations? Listen for His voice, and He will show you where they are — whether in the slums, in the shelters, under the bridges, in the international clubs, selling cars or learning English. Perhaps they are the family down the street with a statue of Buddha in their yard. Listen to them. If you do not do something now, they will be swept away by the cults, the false religions and the gangs who go from door to door in cities and spend hours and money enticing the unaware.
You, safe in your church, rejoicing in the Lord, get up and travel from the figurative Jerusalem to Jericho in your own city. Find your neighbor who has been left by the wayside. Show him Jesus.
Myra McCloud, an Arizona resident, is a former Free Methodist missionary who served for more than 30 years in central Africa.
- Where in your community can you interact with refugees? If you don’t have refugees in your town, is there a nearby town where they can be found?
- What are ways you and your church can connect with refugees who come to the United States from other nations?