Our previous post discussed the multitude of ministry opportunities to reach the many refugees in this country. But don’t stop with refugees! Why not reach out to international students? The man from India with whom you work? Or how about the Middle Eastern family who moved in last year just two doors down from you?
According to Global Gates (a ministry that focuses on major cities to reach internationals for Christ), in the Houston area alone there are 29,100 Gujarati Hindus, 5,324 Turkish Muslims, 8,964 Punjabi Sikhs, 9,850 Afghan Muslims, and 54,218 Indo-Pak Muslims (i.e., Muslims from Pakistan and India). Talk about opportunities for ministry!
But what if you don’t live in a big city like Houston? How can you get involved with immigrants? How about teaching English with a church or school in your area that mostly caters to foreign-born students? Visit a Muslim or Hindu grocery store or restaurant, and make a friend. Refugees are really a subset of immigrants. Another sub category is students. We only have a short time to reach these folks, and you sure don’t want this opportunity to pass you by! Is there a college campus near you?
Some people prayer map their cities learning where most of the internationals live and prayer walk…or prayer drive…their neighborhoods. If the city you live in is large enough, someone may have already done this for you: it’s completed in New York City and in Los Angeles. (By the way, did you know that Jews are among the least reached people in all of North America?)
Of course, prayer is foundational to all of this, so get your friends involved with praying for your prayer mapping project, as well as for the foreign-born people in your city before you begin. You may be the first Christian these people meet, but your impression could last for eternity!