The Simplicity of Friendship
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.
Many years ago, I heard an Alliance missionary say, “In the future, one of our largest mission fields will be among the immigrants and refugees coming to America.” This has certainly proven true in our small, suburban church. We have had an active ministry with internationals in our community.
Arabic, Japanese, Latino, and Jordanian people have participated in our English conversation gatherings, community garden, farmers market, and Good Tidings Christmas Store. Now, we have an opportunity to welcome and support a refugee family from Afghanistan.
For many weeks, members of our Afghan welcome team underwent training, spent time in prayer on how to best help the family that God was going to send to us, and invested both time and money in furnishing a home for them. As part of the welcome team for an Afghan family, I was given the privilege to write a story about my interactions with the family.
In December, we welcomed a family—Daddy, Mama and five children ages 2, 5, 6, 8, and 10. They came with very few possessions and could speak very little English; however, with the help of Google Translate (which is not always successful), through body language, pointing, and lots of prayer on our part, we were able to communicate. There were humorous mix-ups, and I’m sure they sometimes thought that we were crazy Americans!
The day after they arrived, two of us took the children to a nearby playground. The family had been staying in a nearby hotel for several days. We had great fun getting to know one another. Shortly thereafter, I had a great time taking the children to the library and to a larger playground that the oldest girl called “a beautiful park.” She also indicated I could be their “grandmother.” That really touched my heart because they had to leave all their family and friends in Afghanistan.
This family’s most important needs are learning English, getting the children into school, and finding a job for the father. Once the children get into school, I’m sure they will learn English quickly as they are already picking up words and phrases. The entire family is attending an ESL class two evenings a week, which provides childcare and teaching for children.
Also, because they live in a suburb, the family will need a vehicle as they are not within walking distance to grocery stores, doctors, etc.
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.