For the Nations Refugee Outreach
From the time that Adam and Eve were forced out of the Garden (Gen 3:22-24), the people of God have been sojourners and aliens in a foreign land. God calls and God sends. Scripture is replete with stories of God calling his people to “go from their country” (Gen 12:1) God sending his people to the nations (Mt 28; Acts 1:8), and God orchestrating events in history that bring strangers and aliens into contact with one another, that the glory and power and goodness of God may be ultimately put on display for all to see.
Here in Texas, and in the City of Richardson in particular, God is bringing the nations to us. U.S. State Department records show that in 2016, more refugees resettled in Texas than any other state. In North Texas, more refugees made their new home in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, than in any other metropolitan area nationwide. TFC sits in the midst of one of the largest refugee populations in the U.S. As we serve a God who invites us to join Him in His redemptive work in this world, and in our sphere of influence, we must continually as ourselves: “how is it that God is calling us to manifest as neighbors to the sojourner and the alien in our midst?”
Part of our answer to this question has been the growth of a partnership with For the Nations: Refugee Outreach. FTNRO is a Christian ministry serving the refugee population in the Richardson and Garland area. Their mission is to provide educational and acculturation services that help meet the practical needs of refugees and to share with them the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through a wide variety of educational programs and supportive services that help refugees in the lengthy process of adapting to life in their new land, FTNRO is teaching English literacy and life skills to children and adults, using a gospel-centered approach that incorporates both Bible stories and theology.
TFC has opened its doors to FTNRO on Thursday evenings to provide a venue for childcare and tutoring of refugee children while their parents attend classes at FTNRO’s other campuses. Alongside FTNRO staff members, TFC volunteers serve as tutors and loving Christian neighbors. John and Regina Dupree are two of those from the TFC body who donate their time and care to our refugee neighbors. John notes: “It is joyful chaos on Thursdays to have refugee children from around the world doing homework at our tables, having fun on our playground, and listening to stories from the Bible. Regina and I love being a part.” When I visited one of FTNROs other campuses where adult refugees from a variety of cultures were preparing for the GED exam, I was struck by the palpable sense of joy and hope that was present in the classroom. I witnessed men and women eager for the ability to better fit and function as members of their new culture, and the enthusiasm that was present among refugee students and FTNROs staff and other volunteers was infectious.
God is bringing the nations to our doorstep, and there are plenty of opportunities to “treat the stranger who sojourns with [us] as the native among [us], and to “love [them] as [ourselves]” (Lev 19:33-34). Our growing partnership with FTNRO is one of those opportunities. Will you ask God if this is where He may have you join Him in his work here in our neighborhood, in our sphere of influence? If you’d like to volunteer to help by tutoring or shepherding refugee children at TFC on Thursday evenings, feel free to show up on Thursday evenings from 4:30PM to 6:30PM. You may also email us for further information or other ways you can support FTNRO and TFC as we share the remarkable love of Jesus Christ with our refugee neighbors.
Associate Pastor of Local Outreach