Donna Kushner, a missionary in her lifetime, both overseas and to immigrant families stateside, writes of the story of her Afghan friends.
Nargis and Ali were married 20 days before the Taliban retook Kabul. Because Ali had worked for the U.S. military, the couple thought it best to flee.
Nargis, his wife, is a beautiful Hazara woman (a Persian-speaking ethnic group from central Afghanistan). Only 20 years old, she is expecting a baby in the spring.
Tears came quickly to her eyes as she shared that she had to leave all her family behind in Kabul–her parents and her three siblings, all of whom would typically help her raise a child in a rich, supportive community.
Nargis did not even possess a single photo of her wedding or her family. The Taliban had crushed her mobile phone while she and Ali waited at the airport to leave Afghanistan.
Since meeting Nargis, several of the women on our cultural mentoring team have wept with her as her story passed across the Google translate box on our phone screens. Nargis arrived speaking no English but is diligently meeting with us to practice all she is learning.
She is winsome. Bright. Grieving, but resilient.
Today in our countries, Nargis’ story is repeated through countless variations across thousands fleeing all they have known and loved. As Christ-followers, we carry the opportunity to walk with our new friends, weep and later rejoice with them, and offer a hand along their journey.
Did you know one in every seven people living in the U.S. is foreign-born? In Canada, as of 2019, just under eight million immigrants possessed permanent residence—roughly 21.5% of the total population. These internationals include refugees, asylees, and undocumented people, who arrive with higher needs.
No one in these categories leaves home because home is a safe place.
At the same time, unique opportunities present themselves for us as Christ-followers—like they did for the Good Samaritan—to come alongside resettled families in this challenging journey that can at times rob them.
The world is on the move, and we get to love and share the gospel with our new neighbors.
When the Need Moves Next Door
In Go. Serve. Love’s last post, Cross-Cultural Immersion: 10 Ways to Start Right Where You’re At, we peeked into ways you can dive into cultural connections right in your neighborhood–whether you’re sure you’re headed overseas or not. And immigrant families hand us powerful opportunities to share with those from countries most Christians might never set foot in.
But there’s also this. Every person reading this post knows what it’s like to be an outsider. Or to lack what’s needed. To wonder what’s happening in your family. To feel alone or powerless.
And we also know what it’s like for Jesus to draw us close (Ephesians 2:19), give us what we need (Philippians 4:19), to hand us wisdom that’s beyond ourselves (James 1:5). Because of Jesus, we’re no longer alone. No longer powerless.
We help the powerless not because we are the saviors, but the saved.
That’s one reason everywhere the Gospel goes, it carries social change and justice with it. We believe Jesus not only changes our hearts, but changes our lives. Our desire for His good, His Kingdom to come, everywhere.
Get Your Fresh, Hot Freebie for Immigrant Families
That’s one huge reason Go. Serve. Love is excited by a new 100% free resource by FamilyLife: Finding Home Again: A Path for Refugees, Immigrants, Resettled Families, and Those Who Help Them.
This is a shameless plug; Go. Serve. Love’s editor, Janel Breitenstein, partnered with other authors at FamilyLife to produce this group of resources, toting along her experience teaching refugees in Uganda.
These downloads make it easy to guide two four-lesson discussions for groups, families, and pairs, so they can process critical topics like loss, past pain, and thriving in a baffling new normal. It can help a group or family–like Nargis and Ali–talk about
- grief and loss
- raising kids cross-culturally
Both leaders’ and participants’ guides are offered in a faith-based and non-faith-based version, in case you’re working with a government-funded organization.
The downloads might be great to facilitate discussion and healing if you’re, say
- teaching ESL (here or overseas) to foreigners
- helping an immigrant family
- having coffee with a resettled friend on a semi-regular basis
- wanting to meet refugees in your neighborhood
You game? (Or do you know someone who might be?)
Snag it for free–and consider praying about ways you could use this resource for immigrant families.
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