Ministering to refugees brings unexpected blessings, and closer ties between churches.
Judy and John Peterson are part of Bethlehem Covenant Church in Minneapolis and have partnered with Arrive Ministries and their church to be the hands and feet of Jesus to refugees. They discover blessings in the process, and forge stronger ties between two nearby churches.
They have invited Bhutanese kids to their home for movie nights; taken boys fishing and were involved in a summer program in apartments to play games, have a snack and Bible story. John continues to tutor one boy every Monday and they drive refugee children to Sunday School at their church.
John recently wrote a personal reflection about how they have been changed through this kind of ministry.
“Judy and I became acquainted with the needs of the Bhutanese/Nepali community through the encouragement of Linda Leonard at Bethlehem Covenant Church. Neither Judy nor I had any previous exposure to this population, nor were we familiar with the Phillips neighborhood where many of the Bhutanese live.
Over time, we began assisting with transportation for refugee children to church, helping with junior church, serving on the committee that developed the church ministry to these people, and gradually began to develop personal relationships with several Nepali families.
When we began to become involved, we had no idea if we would be helpful or effective. We had considerable trepidation, the differences in our cultures were so great, communication was difficult because of language barriers, and we had no real experience ministering to a population such as the Bhutanese.
Now, after a year of involvement in the various aspects of this ministry, I can say without reservation that we have been blessed immeasurably–much more than we ever expected. We have been invited to share in the lives of several families, developed real and vital relationships with many children, and feel we are trusted and perceived well. An added bonus has been the benefit of sharing this ministry with other believers in our church and with members of Crosstown Covenant Church, developing deeper relations with them in a shared work of showing God’s love to our new neighbors and friends.
We have learned much, and have been blessed much!”