Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:18-20 to make disciples of all the nations. We know from Revelation 5:9-10 that Christ has purchased people from every tribe and nation. For this reason, we continue sending global partners to take the gospel to the nations, especially to places that do not have the Bible and churches. However, you can be involved directly in reaching the nations not only through sending, giving and praying. You can reach out to the unreached nations as they come to Spokane!
A number of members at Faith Bible Church, including Mike and Joy Sawatzky, got involved in reaching the nations in Spokane over four years ago when we started doing English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for ladies who had come to Spokane as refugees. We did these classes for over two years almost every Sunday afternoon at Faith Bible Church. Mike Sawatzky organized all the volunteers and helped with caring for the children of the ladies in the ESL class. Many women from Faith, including Joy Sawatzky served as language conversation partners in the ESL classes taught by Teri Gardner and Diana Ward. From those classes, they began building relationships with several families from Afghanistan. Often, they would give these ladies and their kids a ride to the ESL classes. Ladies from Faith and a few other churches, ended up spending time with a few of them at their houses having tea or a meal. The ladies would help them with rides to the doctor and serve them in other practical ways.
Now, over four years later, some of these relationships continue. We no longer host ESL classes on Sunday afternoons. However, we are finding other ways to connect with our old friends and to make new friends. We have joined with some faithful brothers and sisters from a few other churches to do a Friendship Dinner once a month. We have a picnic on a Saturday afternoon and spend lots of time talking and building friendships with mostly Muslim friends, as well as a few Hindus. A large number of those coming to the Friendship Dinner are from Afghanistan, and they are inviting more of their friends who have come over from Afghanistan. It is a great time to play games with kids and build deeper friendships with their parents. Usually, you will find the ladies all sitting together talking in smaller groups and the men scattered around talking with other men. We are learning about each other’s lives, cultures, languages and faiths. There are often opportunities to talk about what we believe and to learn about what they believe.
Some volunteers have had many opportunities to impact their new friends over the last four years. Through many hours of giving rides to doctor offices or other places, Joy has been able to speak often of her faith in Jesus.
Some of you might have some hesitation when you think about people from primarily Muslim nations. There are many stereotypes and fears, but the reality is that the friends we are making are people who are seeking peace. Most of them are here because they have had to flee their home country due to hostile forces that were a threat to them. Many of them were helping the American military in one way or another and because of that they obtained refugee status. Most of them have become or are planning on becoming American citizens. They do not share the radical views of those who would seek to harm others. Yes, they are sinners who need to know the Savior, but they are not more dangerous sinners than you and I. And, even if they were, what did Jesus mean when He said that we should love our enemies?
Some volunteers have had many opportunities to impact their new friends over the last four years. Through many hours of giving rides to doctor offices or other places, Joy has been able to speak often of her faith in Jesus. She and Mike have been able to pray recently with and for, their friends who have family who are stuck in Afghanistan. Their family almost got out during the August evacuations in Kabul, but a series of unfortunate events left them behind in the airport. Their family, and many others, left in Afghanistan are in very serious danger, and that weighs heavily on the hearts of those who have come to know these precious people. However, this has also opened up new opportunities to minister to these families and to point them to Christ through practical service, kindness, prayer, and their testimony. Pray that God will work in their friends’ lives and they will come to truly know the only Savior, Jesus Christ.
[Joy] and Mike have been able to pray recently with and for, their friends who have family who are stuck in Afghanistan.
Will you join with Mike and Joy and others at Faith Bible Church as we seek to show Christ and speak of Christ with our friends from the nations? Several hundred new refugees will be coming to Spokane from Afghanistan, hopefully, in the next year. There are many who desire friends and need practical help. You can be involved in global outreach in Spokane! Join us for the Friendship Dinners once a month on a Saturday afternoon. Contact World Relief and sign up to be a good neighbor for a new family. Gather your small group to ‘adopt’ one person or a whole family coming into a new culture here in the US. Let us know if you want help figuring out how to get connected with those coming from the nations to Spokane. Mike and Joy and others who have gotten involved, would tell you that they are not doing anything extraordinary. They are just seeking to be a blessing to some people who are new to Spokane and who have probably never known a Christian before. What about you? Global outreach in Spokane is possible for any who are willing to trust God and reach out to a new friend.