Living in a neighborhood that is 92% immigrant, you quickly learn that one of the biggest needs in a person’s life is community. Rather than forming a type of melting pot where culture can be shared, history has created an atmosphere of distrust and skepticism. So although we have a big vision to see the gospel reach the nations, we continue to learn how to walk step by step. Here are some glimpses into how the Spirit has helped us inch forward.
Saj’s employer found out I worked as a teacher and asked if I would help him with his English. After a few weeks attending the language cafe, Saj admitted that his real motivation was that he had no friends outside of work. He had lived in the neighborhood for three years. He not only participates weekly in our conversation group, but he also has cooked food from his home country to have something to share. Please pray for his heart to be open to seek truth.
Naj and her younger sister Ela started to coming to the language cafe not knowing anyone in the neighborhood. We often ask for ways to pray for the families and would share Jesus’ stories as a way to study language to see if anyone was spiritual open. Naj was getting her coat on one evening and asked if there were more stories about Jesus she could learn. She walked out the door sharing one more request if we would pray that she would meet Jesus in a dream. Please pray she would meet Jesus.
Mar, Az, and Ele are three sisters who moved in a little over a year ago. They are determined to learn the language so that they could go to university. We have enjoyed getting to celebrate birthdays and pray for their mother’s health. After watching a video about exploring important questions in life that included learning about the Messiah, Mar expressed the deep longing she has had to find the answers to such questions.
Has and Neb did not want coffee as they past our stand, but their curiosity kept them close. “Why are you doing this?,” they asked. We explained that we live here and want to be a good neighbor in our own community. They loved this idea so much that they invited us over to break the Ramadan fast with them. We have now been able to share a few meals together. Again praying for open hearts to sow seeds of truth and grace.
Starting something from scratch takes time. Our main focus has been prayer in order to stay in tune with the Spirit as well as look to break strongholds that have held these places and families captive for too long. Cultivating presence, building trust and finding creative ways to live life with new friends has been our other focus this first year. We are all coming from different cultures, different ways of communication and different ways to show respect. It has been an exciting journey to learn and grow in how to live out a biblical worldview and love loud.