Jesus said to His disciples, upon being asked which is the great commandment in the Law, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36–39
Love Thy Refugee Neighbor
I was touched by Pastor Todd’s message on Matthew, and Jesus’ command to love Him and love our neighbors above all other commands. One way Pastor Todd mentioned to love God more is to love and serve our neighbors (our families, our church and fellow Christians and the world).
Over the past year our church has had the opportunity to put this command into action as we have served (and been served by) and loved Mong Ngae and his family through Refugee Life Ministries. This is the second family First Free has welcomed. Refugee Life Ministries is a church-based program of Arrive Ministries that provides churches with an opportunity to serve newly-arrived refugee families with the love of Christ through practical service and loving relationships. They endorse a holistic approach of meeting practical human needs, building relationships, and, most importantly, sharing the truth of Jesus Christ (arriveministries.org).
Mong Ngae, his wife, Ma Aung Mya, and their seven children are a Karen family that arrived in the U.S. last July from Thailand after spending almost 20 years in a refugee camp. Our church team met them at the airport when they first arrived and has served in a variety of ways since that time, including relationship building through picnics, meals together, playing games, and gardening, as well as meeting many practical needs such as helping prepare their home, transportation to appointments and assisting with paperwork and many other activities. They are a warm, hospitable, hard-working family that love each other and have made us feel welcomed and comfortable. Each time we leave their home they invite us to return soon.
As our year of “officially” volunteering with the family draws to a close (many of us will maintain relationships with the family), we ask you to continue to lift their family up in prayer. Some specific requests include:
- Continued financial provision.
- Health for family members.
- Pray that God would be softening their hearts and that the seeds planted would be watered and grow.
Refugee Life Ministry Opportunities
Opportunities abound right here in our community to meet God’s command to love our neighbors, and specifically, love the sojourner (Leviticus 19:33-34). The Minneapolis/Saint Paul area is home to the largest population of Somalis, Hmong and Karen in the United States and this year we are expecting even more refugees than in many years past. With news so often filled with fear and division, we remember that God is creator and “He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him.” Acts 17:26-27
How reassuring that God places people where He wants them to be. He is in control and He uses His people around the world to bring the truth to those who do not know Him. We pray that God continues to stir the hearts of the people of First Free for the refugees in our community, at our garden, in our schools and in our neighborhoods. We also pray that God would bring another team of people together to welcome an additional family. The need is great.
Get involved with Refugee Life Ministry at First Free
Please fill out the form below if you have any questions or are interested in learning more about Refugee Life Ministries!