I never imagined that when I moved to Vegas that I would ever come across a ministry that I simply have fallen in love with, ministering to Refugees. I have learned so much about myself since moving here 1 year ago. I have been thrown into uncomfortable situations, ministries I don’t particulary like and then there are others I have adored and can’t get enough of. God has used my experiences here to teach me more about my gifts and talents, things I thought I knew about myself, I was wrong. Since being a part of our new and developing Refugee Ministry I am beginning to understand my love and gifts for teaching. The teaching environment brings me such joy and fulfillment. I am still seeing how God is molding and shaping my abilities to fit into that. I really enjoy teaching children…watching their little minds figure out things for the first time makes my day! The same applies to teaching the many refugees I have encountered over the past 2 weeks. They are wide eyed and eager to learn just as children are. I have come to see how much I love spending time with them, helping them to adjust to their new home, America. Many of them come to the US, afraid and dealing with years of war, famine, persecution and a variety of other things from their country of origin. It amazes me each time I sit and get to know them how God is bringing the nations to Las Vegas! The ministry is continuing to develop each day…I will keep all of you posted! In the meantime, here are some photos from the past weeks and a write up I did about tthe ministry, read, look and enjoy!
Each week several families come from countries all over the world to our city of Las Vegas. They are not seeking money or power, but rather freedom and a better way of life for their families and children. These families have been tagged ‘refugees’. They have either escaped or been sent away from their country of origin due to war, famine, persecution, etc. The refugees have been sent to a land foreign to them to live in camps and communities together. Some of these refugees may be forced to live in the camps anywhere from 2-30 years or their entire lifetime. When the ability to leave arises, a government agency called UNHCR interviews each family member and sends them through a lengthy process that decides which country of refuge they will be sent. The US allows refugees to enter through several different cities, one being Las Vegas.
When the refugees arrive to Las Vegas they are given little to no assistance on learning the basics of being an American. They often come to the states confused due to a language barrier and are mostly clueless about the everyday things they we as Americans take advantage of. They face obstacles that we can’t imagine. The act of doing laundry and working their kitchen appliances proves to be very difficult. They need American families to take them by the hand and show them the basic details of living everyday life in Las Vegas. It seems so simple to us, however to them, taking the time to show them and to love and be patient with them means so much. They are so gracious and thankful for the kindness Christians have been showing them. They often encounter opposition in their travel to America and are simply looking for a friendly face and a kind word to encourage them through the difficult process of moving to an unfamiliar place.
Our encouragement to local churches and families is to consider and pray through becoming part of the ministry to the refugees. Every little bit helps, and the reward is incredible!