We spent the day with a family we love dearly, the fed us twice and being with them was like seeing family. While we were there we were reminded that even as refugees have spent time here and doing well even positioning themselve to be able to buy a home, they still need help or advice. The need is great when they first come but they will always in a way be behind the curve in learning the American way to achieve their dreams. We believe God calls every professing believer in Christ to advocate for refugees making sure they get a fair shake in life. The truth is the love they have to give is amazing and even if God did not require this we would recommend every believer do it because it is so uplifting. If you want to get involved let us know.
This weekend was an awesome time of ministry. We had youth groups come from California and Oregon to minister to the children at Phoenician Palms. The youth came and learned what the story tellers do and came to put what they learned into practice. They children loved the puppets and said this was more fun than the last time the story tellers came. The kids are starting to recognize us after being here for two weeks and they are warming up to us. The kids loved on the youth all of whom they had just met, a little love and positive attention goes a long way. One little girl tried to follow the youth to parking lot rather than follow her sisters home.
We helped a family make some phone calls as he is looking to purchase a newer car but they ones he had looked up craigslist were already sold. He was grateful that we were willing to help.
We went and visited families we made connections with at our old apartment community and helped one of the young men celebrate his birthday. We visited with a family were are attached to but rarely get to see as both the husband and wife are working. They were so happy we knocked on their door. We were telling them why moved and we were able to share with them our faith and the practical implications of it. We explained what Malachi 3:5 means and the call of every Christian to care for the oppressed especially the widow, the orphan, and the refugee. She shared how each was said in Arabic. We explained our heart is to help people in the resettlement process but to also raise awareness of the need to minister to refugees because many American christians have a negative view about refugees. She asked us why won't people help and proclaimed "We need the help". She explained how she felt like an infant with adult resposiblities with the resources of a teenager that just moved out of their parents house. She shared how a friend of hers was a doctor in her home country and is now here struggling to find work any work. This only confirmed the need to advocate politically to try to bring better solutions to the resettlement process like allowing refugees to take all but the English portion of the GED in their native language for free so they can find work sooner or take certification tests in their native tongue with no up front cost so they can work their trade. She was almost in tears as she recounted her own story in her mind and was glad to know others will have an advocate as they resettle. They miss us and are inspired to love others and will be coming along side us to love on those here.
It was a full but great weekend.
On Saturday we had a team come in to tell stories to the kids, they read a Bible story and sing songs then have a snack. The team also brought clothes with them and handed the clothes out. One boy was so excited about a pair of shoes. Many of refugees come with what only fits in a suit case and they start over in America with the bare necessities. On Sunday we visited some refugee families we have known for some time now and the little boy still carries around the skateboard we gave him two years ago. It reminded me of how the simple things can have a large impact.
Last night we spent our first night here, soon we will be digging in to ministry. The Lord is not waiting for us though He has placed the desire on a man's heart to come and do a 2 hour event on the 13th of this month. Wayne Huffman has introduced us and we are excited to see what the Lord brings from this. The kids here need positive role models and working with the kids tends to open the doors to working with the parents. If you have time and would like to make a difference in a refugees life please contact us and let us know we will connect you with a family. We have met two families here already and they welcomed us into their homes. They are loving people trying to figure out the American way. Please continue to pray for us as we live here to bring the life and ministry of Jesus/Yeshua our Messiah to nations the Lord has brung to America.
We are in the process of moving and are excited about the number of Churches that want to come along side of us. We spoke with a Romanian Church and they are interested in sending volunteers and to use the community at Phoenician Palms as a way to connect with other Romanian Churches while serving the Lord. Our Missional Community with Church of the Cross is interested in partnering as well. We haven't in completely moved in yet. There are other ministries already onsite and we will be partnering with them as well. Our desire is not only to share Christ but to turn around a neighborhood creating a safe environment for all the residents and especially the refugees that are being resettled there. Our goal is to document and create an effective replicable effort in improving the resettlement process addressing practical needs that lead to productive members of society.
I was day dreaming today thinking it would be great if the entire complex was owned by people committed to renting to refugees that are being resettled. With the ministries that are there and the desire of said ministries to help the refugees become self sufficient and to volunteer to help others being resettled, it is possible, with thriving families leaving the complex to move on to bigger and better things, we - the local Church- could create model for resettlement communities that provide assimilation and self-sufficiency training.
Growing up I hated political activist and being an advocate for refugees seems to require that I do just that- God is funny that way. I pray that as we minister that we keep in mind the principles learned from the book "When Helping Hurts" namely God's gleaning principle, the poor are best helped when they are afforded the ability to work rather than have their needs given to them.
We get the keys on the 22nd or 23rd and are excited about this new adventure. We would love to have people come along side us and volunteer their time. There are already others on site working and they need hands to help tutor, teach ESL, mentor youth, and so on. If you are in Phoenix and interested please let us know. Be blessed.
We met with a family that owns several condos in the community we are looking to minister in and they are willing to rent to us so we can be on sight as we minister. We are excited to partnering with them and to help resettle the sojourners while sharing the love of God with them. Feeling excited.