Michael Guilliams, Missionary, North America
The Call, July-September 2016
The Call, July-September 2016
The Arabic lady was sitting alone on a bench while I was at the park with our boys. As a man, it would normally be improper for me to speak to a Muslim woman; however, God prompted me to speak to her.
What came next was a surprise. As she talked in broken English, I began to see a picture of a heart that was lonely from years of a hard life and that was weighed down with many burdens. She began talking about her family, friends, and a desire to find a job and to learn English. We talked for over an hour, and a door opened for me to become part of her life. My wife started to meet with her to help her learn English, and a friendship has developed as we have simply shared life with her. From driving her to job interviews to helping her family move, it has been an education to see what difficulties people face when coming to another country.
In the media, there has been a lot of talk about immigrants: what should be done and what shouldn’t be done with people coming from the Middle East and surrounding countries. I would like to make a case for immigrants, that they be seen as souls to be won for Christ. For many years I have heard people say, “I could never go to another country to share Christ with others.” In God’s wisdom, He has now made the people from other countries our neighbors.
It's clear that the United States is changing at a rapid pace. For many, the possibility of people coming from other countries to settle within their own neighborhoods is a reality. The question is, how do we respond to these ever-increasing numbers of people? The answer is to not look at immigrants as a burden but to view them as people who need to hear about the love of Christ. Just as we have shown love and compassion to our Lebanese friend, it is important for us, as believers, to love and care for those who need our help.
The path to making a difference starts with meeting needs: teaching English, providing food, being a friend, or even providing mechanical assistance. In simple ways, you can make a difference in the life of an immigrant. As we sort out the differences in culture, class, and expectations placed upon us by our experiences, it is important to remember that we all have the same basic needs: to be fed, to have purpose, to be loved, and to be understood.
If we can share Christ with our immigrant friends and meet their needs, then we all will be a bit happier and help fulfill the Great Commission in our own backyards.
PRAY: As they bore witness to Christ in Judea, Peter and the apostles were reluctant to minister to Gentiles, who were seen as outsiders by Jews. However, God’s desire was to offer Gentiles the gift of the Holy Spirit, and He intended to use the disciples to build the kingdom. Likewise, your missionary journey will potentially lead you to be in community with others who don’t look like you, dress like you, or talk like you. Ask God to prepare your heart and to help you receive all of His children as He does.