The Transformation from Stranger to Friend
Since 2010, Cornerstone Christian Fellowship (CCF), a C&MA church in Hilliard, OH, has been reaching out to local disadvantaged families, immigrants, and refugees. We have a team of dedicated volunteers who have been involved in building relationships and providing resources to underserved people. The following story is a testimony by one of our Welcome Team volunteers at CCF.
I am part of our church welcome team that is hosting a family from Afghanistan. It is a privilege to share a few of the experiences that I have had with our new Afghan friends that God has placed in our midst. I was one of the team members who met the family in December as they arrived at the house that God had found for them.
When our new Afghan friends arrived at their new home, we were all smiles. We were happy and excited to meet them! The family, however, was understandably fearful, apprehensive, and guarded. As we entered the house with them and walked into different rooms, the children began to let their guard down as they came upon various “kid-friendly” items. Their little faces lit up as they discovered coloring books, crayons, cars, trucks, backpacks, school supplies, and balloons. Before we knew it, they showed us their appreciation with great big hugs!
An interpreter and I gave the parents a tour of their new home. We pointed out several important features pertaining to the doors, windows, oven, dishwasher, and other appliances. Immediately, the wonderful parents made tea and prepared a plate of nuts and berries for us. They were saying “thank you” in a universal language—food!
While the adults were busy in the kitchen, I played with balloons with the kids, which brought forth giggles and laughter from them all. At this point, their parents clearly did not want me to leave. I sensed that they were not only feeling comfortable with me but were literally experiencing the love of Jesus in those moments and hearing our Father’s “welcome home.”
Since our first encounter, I have had the privilege of helping them on several occasions. Last week, I went to help the mother learn how to use the washing machine. When I got to their house, she was confused. She had a pile of dripping wet clothes and a washer half full of water.
Think about it. She didn’t know English, and I didn’t know Urdu, and the phone app that we used for translating gave us some very “funny” and misleading translations. We laughed our way through it and eventually celebrated our successful outcome—she was able to use her washing machine. We bonded as we persevered through a very ordinary process.
I am grateful that God has allowed me to demonstrate the love of Jesus to this precious family from the other side of the world and that He would use common, everyday situations to transform our relationship from stranger to friend.
Alliance Women is committed to prayer and financial support for the RAIN Alliance ministry in Ohio. We have set a goal to raise $25,000 for this hands-on ministry to refugees. To participate, please visit www.alliancewomen.org/give.