As we continue to show love to our foreign-born neighbors and help them move beyond those first steps of just trying to figure out their new world, we have opportunity to develop genuine relationships. This is one of the most effective ways to share Christ. Living life with our new friends provides opportunity to enter into spiritual conversations.
Living life can include helping with language and culture, but it moves beyond that. It also means including them in both the mundane and important moments of our life. A simple dinner in our home can mean the world to someone who longs for normalcy. Sharing the local or seasonal foods that bring joy to our families can bring joy to theirs.
Many refugees want to experience our holidays even if they don’t subscribe to all the beliefs behind them. They want to know why and how we celebrate. They want to be included. They want to feel like they belong and that they have true friends.
But it’s a two-way street. It’s not our goal to make them act like us, think like us, talk like us, etc. That’s impossible and unfair. People cannot completely strip away their past, their culture, the songs their mother sang to them as a child. As we love and learn about our new neighbors, we want to participate in and affirm many aspects of their culture. This can include special meals, birthday celebrations, and drinking lots and lots of tea. It is a great honor to be included in these events.
Relationship building is a process. It requires people coming around our new friends and enveloping them in love and acceptance. It involves being active in their lives. It involves recognizing that many of them have been through unimaginable trauma. It’s not all fun and games, but ultimately, we desire to support them educationally, emotionally, culturally, and spiritually.
Today we thank the Lord that He has designed people to be in relationship with one another, and we praise Him that He desires to be in relationship with us.
We pray that He would enable us to reach out to those He has brought across land and sea and that we would step out of our comfort zones and pursue true relationships with them.