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Refugee Ministry: Ripe for Growth

Refugee Ministry: Ripe for Growth

“You lost everything, you don’t have much, you find Jesus … It’s an amazing paradox.”

Christar worker Todd,* who served among refugees in the Middle East for 15 years, has witnessed this story play out over and over: For long periods of time, his team would see a couple people trust in Christ every week! Though he had heard of God working in similar ways in other places around the world, Todd had never personally witnessed a movement of people to Christ like this one. And remarkably, they weren’t just coming to faith. Many who believed were maturing into church leaders and some even became full-time Christian workers!

Todd has an explanation for this phenomenon: “Think about refugees: They leave everything. They come to a foreign place, a place where they are low, feel alone, just hurting. It’s an amazing place to find your everything—Jesus Christ—when you’re at the bottom … That’s why so many [refugees] are so receptive to the love of Christ.”

As Todd explains, those who believe live in a figurative pressure cooker, but their situation gives God’s Word great meaning and applicability. As a result, some of these refugees grow from people with no understanding of Scripture to mature Christians serving, in many ways, as pastors over the course of just three years. “The amount of teachers, preachers, evangelists and other church servant leaders God has raised [in the refugee community] is truly phenomenal,” Todd shares. “The environment is so growth-producing, and the Holy Spirit does His great thing.”

Shortly after Todd and his family moved to a capital city in the Middle East, they met Moses, a man from another city who would travel to the capital to get Bible training from the church where Todd served. “He had heard about Jesus, but he didn’t have much information,” Todd recalls.

Before long, Moses invited Todd and a coworker to come to his city and hold trainings there! Over the course of 12 years, God grew this gathering, which started as a group of six or seven people, into a church body of 120, with attendance at outreach picnics surpassing 200! This fellowship grew so quickly that at one point three elders and eight deacons, all of whom were part of the local refugee community, were commissioned with the responsibility of leading this local body of Christ.

Abram was a member of this congregation. Though he was a dedicated follower of Jesus and very gifted by God, Todd described him as a bull in a china cabinet due to the speed at which he devoured and applied God’s word. “He was so far ahead in his thoughts and understanding of a Bible passage, he would run way past the other refugee believers, and he wouldn’t give them a chance to catch up.” As a result, for two hard years, Todd had to limit Abram’s service in the church to background roles. Abram learned a lot about the importance of humility during that time, after which he was more ready to handle responsibilities and roles that placed him in front of the congregation.

When personal hardship led Abram to move to another city, he was prepared not only to serve in a church, but to gather a new group of believers to worship together. God used him to plant a fellowship there, continuing to multiply the ripple effect of the growing Body of Christ among refugees. “He’s a discipler, this guy,” Todd said. “God’s going to keep using him in powerful ways.”

Though Todd and his family are now serving elsewhere, they know that God will continue doing His great thing among the refugees in their former field and beyond as believers from within this community respond to His call to serve Him! These faithful followers of Jesus are ministering among their own people group as well as among other displaced people and the people of their host country. And it all started when God gave one refugee a hunger to know about Jesus.

Participate by Praying:

  • Praise God for working amid hardship and loss to draw many refugees to faith in Jesus.
  • Pray for wisdom and encouragement for Moses, Abram and the other local church leaders as they seek to establish mature, reproducing fellowships of believers.
  • Ask God to continue to prime the hearts of refugees around the world to embrace the gospel.

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