Charly and his family attend Pulpit Rock. Here he shares an incredible opportunity for our church body to flourish together by partnering with local Muslim families in welcoming new refugees to our city.
Last week I spent a few hours with an Egyptian friend, Mohamed, drinking tea in his home and discussing the kingdom of God. I had texted him on Thursday, initially just asking how he has been recently since we had not been in touch for a couple of months. Later I proceeded to tell Mohamed that I had something I wanted to discuss with him and asked when and where would be a good time to connect. He invited me to his home on Friday evening.
In the midst of our stimulating conversation, I shared with Mohamed an invitation to consider joining me in serving as a volunteer to support a new refugee family settling in Colorado Springs. I explained to him that there is an organization here, Lutheran Family Services, that matches each new refugee family with a team of cultural mentors (consisting of about 4 families) who support them 16 hours/month, as a team, for their first six months in the country with friendship, hospitality, and basic assistance (how to shop, going to appointments, etc).
I explained to Mohamed that I have been pondering this for the past year but only recently have had the idea to try to form a volunteer team made up of two Muslim families and two Christian families who would support a refugee family together. I was thrilled by his positive response! He quickly identified one practical area where his family might especially contribute: “If the refugee family is Arabic-speaking, then we could help translate for them.” Before I left his home that night, Mohamed thanked me for inviting him to participate in this: “Now I just go to work, come home, and go to sleep; something like this will be good for my life.”
How it further stirred my heart to listen to Kyle share on Sunday morning and invite us to make the following commitment: This year we devote ourselves to building relationships outside these walls.
In the midst of my discussion with Mohamed, I shared with him how God has really given me a passion to reverse the pattern of people viewing different religions and cultures as walls to divide, by serving as a bridge to help people connect across diverse backgrounds.
I would like to invite you to join Mohamed and me as volunteers to support a new refugee family in 2017.
Volunteers are required to attend a training session with Lutheran Family Services. The next session is being held on Thursday evening, February 1. If you are interested in participating or would like to learn more, contact me.
I hope to find at least one or two families from Pulpit Rock to launch an initial team of volunteers. This week I also plan to invite another Muslim family from Egypt to join the team.
If there is greater interest from Pulpit Rock families, I am willing to reach out to others within the broader Muslim community to hopefully form additional teams.
Would you consider joining us?
Written by Charly P.