This summer, I have had the privilege of working with refugees in the city of Memphis, Tennessee. Every refugee I have met has a truly incredible story, and I have seen strength, community, and a passion for life unlike ever before within these people. These refugees have fled their homelands because of famine, poverty or persecution due to their race or religion. They have left their families, friends and comforts of a familiar country to seek refuge in a new place. Upon arrival to the states, the families have three months of financial support from a resettlement agency before they are to find jobs and provide for their families. Eighty percent of refugees are women and children, English is typically not a spoken language for them, and education is usually less than high school level.
The injustices of our world run deep, and I have been quickly reminded of the great need we have for a redeeming Savior. There are days when I sit with strong Somalian women in their homes, drink chai and hear stories of incredible hardships they have overcome. It is in these moments that I am forced to think why. Why was I born here, a country of such abundant wealth and opportunity, when these children have never tasted of freedom or received a quality education? Why me? Why was I born into a Christ-following home when these women have only been told that Allah is the true way? The only possible response to this summer has been humble gratefulness for my life and a changed heart to move forward in action as the hands and feet of Christ.
In scripture, God’s heart for the nations is repeated over and over. He longs for every tongue, tribe, people, race and language to proclaim his name. We, as believers, have a great responsibility to preach the good news we have received to His people, whom He loves. And the way I see it, this responsibility to grow his kingdom is not optional. The Bible continually says “when you go,” not if you go.
In the midst of the hurt and brokenness I see within the refugee community, God’s character has been revealed to me through his provision and compassion for his people. My prayer has been that God would give me his heart for the nations. I see him accomplishing enormous things here in this city, and I long to be a part of it. I long for my life to be used by Him, for I know His direction for my life far exceeds my greatest plans or dreams. As his people from all over the world have gathered here in Memphis, I am more convinced than ever before that Christ died for all people, and in all of our brokenness, He longs to draw us all into himself. Whatever my future has, I know that He is good, and he aches to claim every tribe, every tongue and every people as His own.