During the month of August, Go. Serve. Love is stoked to share stories from All Nations, a global training and sending agency.
All Nation’s vision is to see Jesus worshiped by all the peoples of the earth. Their mission? To make disciples and train leaders to ignite church planting movements among the neglected peoples of the earth.
All Nations International serves 4 training and sending hubs: Kansas City, Missouri; CapeTown, South Africa; Kampala, Uganda, and Hamburg, Germany.
They would love to see people of every ethnicity trained and mobilized from their region of the world to be goers and senders of the Gospel.
“I don’t know anything about refugees.”
That’s what came to my mind as I sat looking at my airline tickets. They would escort me to a group of All Nations church planters working with Syrian refugees, as I accompanied piles of my church’s relief packages of food and household supplies.
But, what did I know about refugees?
I knew they’d lost family. Friends. Homes. Community. They’d arrived to a place where they were looked at oddly; where they were not allowed to work.
A psychologist church member had explained that refugees were very resilient and did not need my sympathy. (Then what did they need?)
Another friend shared an article about the healing importance of being creative and productive, of being around beauty, and laughter.
So as I considered how offer more than my pity–how to offer what I did have–an idea came to mind.
What We Piece Together
I loved sewing; loved piecing together beautiful, colorful pieces expressing my inner world. I found it healing; life-giving, even.
Would Syrian ladies like to sew?
My church family rallied. They crammed my suitcase with bright swaths of fabric, warm fleece I held to my face, and ziploc bags of sewing supplies.
A quilter helped me piece a simple top and cut pieces for several other tops. I zipped them into my bags, and stepped on a plane.
It’s how Stories of Hope was born: a group of Syrian ladies who meet weekly to sew. Together, they have become a community.
They are creative, productive. (Well. Most of the time. During one of my first visits with refugees, a visitor passed out kazoos. Blowing them in universal ridiculousness, we laughed until tears rolled down our cheeks. Silliness is good for the soul.)
The items they make are sent out of the country to be sold. This helps them earn a small income.
A new “Jesus Story”
Every week, Stories of Hope learns a new “Jesus story” together.
After hearing the Christmas story for the very first time, the global worker asked, “What did you learn about God in this story?”
A widow and mother of four leaned forward and said, “I never knew Jesus came for everyone.”
Yes, Jesus came for everyone. He knows what it’s like to be displaced from home in a hostile land.
I’ve returned many times since that first trip 5 years ago. On a recent visit one of the Syrian women shared the story of the Last Supper with the group–who are now all Jesus followers.
She brought out tea and bread and we shared communion together.
Now I know something about refugees. They need Jesus just like the rest of us.