Often we use excuses for not going to the nations as God’s Word commands us to do. The usual excuses are “not enough money” or “not enough time” or “my kids are too young/too old”.
Those excuses may have worked a generation or two ago here in America, but not any longer. Especially in urban communities where thousands of people from all over the world live, work, and go to school.
Simply, the world is becoming a smaller place.
Just at the University of Texas in Austin about 127 countries are represented. According to VisitHoustonTexas.com over 90 languages are spoken in the Houston area.
I am sure that these numbers reflect the community you live in as well. The question bow do you engage these people groups right at your doorstep?
Here are 5 ways we can go to the nations without leaving our community. I hope that you can add more ways or additional information about these 5:
- Refugees. I know this is a hot topic right now with all that’s going on with Syrian refugees. If you want my take on that specific situation, read this blog—The Terror-Strickened Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis.. Regardless of your opinion about Syrian refugees, many refugee communities exist close to you. Government and faith-based agencies help refugee immigrants re-settle. All you need is to know how to do life here in America (how to use appliances, where to shop, how to use public transportation, etc.) and have a heart of compassion to reach out to refugees.
- ESL. Teach English as a Second Language. Danielle taught ESL for a few years. She had students from Japan, Korea, and Belgium among others in her classes. Some were here with their spouse on work visas. Another was working as a nanny. Their desire to learn English gave Danielle an excellent opportunity to befriend them.
- Business. How many people from a different country work at your place of employment? Do you know them personally? Have you ever invited them out to lunch or better yet, over to your home for dinner?
- University. I don’t know of a college or university that doesn’t have international students. Students are searching, learning, and open to knowing about Christianity.
- Neighborhood. Odds are you don’t have to go very far from your home to meet a neighbor from another country.
I know the thought of refugees and foreigners here on work visas stir up different emotions. But when we take an eternal perspective on life…what I call a Kingdom mentality…these things fade in comparison to the opportunity for someone to hear about the Good News possibly for the first time—maybe the only time.
A comment I have often heard from someone living here from a foreign country is that they have never been in an American’s home. How easy would it be to invite a refugee, ESL student, co-worker, student, or a neighbor over for dinner?
Maybe God is bringing the nations to our doorstep since many of us won’t actually go to where they are from…