God is working in the lives of people around the world who are fleeing persecution, war, and starvation to lands of prosperity and security, including the United States. Our strategically placed and uniquely equipped teams with The International Neighborhood Network (The INN) are building relationships in diaspora communities around shared interests and felt needs within these communities.
Several teams have started multimedia outreach ministries, English as a Second Language (ESL) programs, classes to help immigrants better understand American culture, and more, all with the aim of sharing the Gospel in word and deed.
"What we did this summer is partnered with a local ESL, faith-based program to host conversation cafes in this garden space," shared Gwen, who is serving in Philadelphia. "We've seen some beautiful friendships begin to blossom from the cafes. Through these relationships we can branch into spiritual conversations and more long-term impact."
These relationships take time and energy before true gospel impact can be seen, and our teams have witnessed that firsthand. The INN ministry in Savannah primarily reached women through their ESL (English as a Second Language) program, and for a little while, they felt they couldn't connect with the men.
But as the men in the community began to realize how their families were being supported by the work of The INN, they became more compelled to have relationships with our workers.
"They were drawn to the love, grace, forgiveness, and generosity," shared Heather. "That has led to so many gospel conversations because Jesus is the reason for every good thing in our life."
These ministry efforts are bearing fruit throughout the United States. Our teams engage with churches to disciple new believers and encourage them to share the love of Christ with those around them.
"When we talk about the result of the ministry, we are humbled, because God has been so, so good," shared Joseph, who works with the INN in Central Pennsylvania. "Over the years, we have seen tens of people come to the Lord and get saved. We had about 50 people get baptized."
For those interested in serving among diaspora communities, our workers have plenty of advice and encouragement to share.
"The biggest fear for me when I started was, 'Do I know scripture so well that I'm going to be able to quote it in a way that it's going to be understood?'" shared Brian. "God has already given you everything you need to express his spirit to anybody. The spirit of God is enough."
"Just jump in," added Laura. "Embrace the awkwardness, and God does the rest."
To hear more from our workers in The INN, check out the 34 minute Acts Of Faith podcast here, where they share stories and prayer requests from their ministry.