Everything you’ve feared is upon you. You can hear gunfire and bombs in the distance, getting closer and closer by the day. The place you call home is no longer a safe place for your family to stay. You don’t want to leave your homeland, your family, your friends, and your culture. But then the sirens sound and your decision is made for you. Terrified eyes turn to you. Within five minutes you and your family are taking the first steps to America, “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” You try to be brave. You want to be free.
This is the terrifying reality so many Middle Eastern families are living out. As war displaces tens of thousands of Syrian, Iraqi, and other Arab refugees, many of these precious people are coming to our shores. U.S. missionaries David and Sue Hartmann stand ready to meet them and welcome them in their pursuit of a new life as U.S. citizens.
Ministries like the Hartmann’s work alongside resettlement agencies to pick up where agency assistance ends. “They just need friends.” David Hartmann says, “They need someone to help them shop for groceries, enroll their kids in school, and apply for a job.”
Friendship and kindness pave the way for us to share the gospel.
The Hartmanns visit communities and get acquainted over a cup of tea and conversation where they are able to share their faith in Jesus Christ. Often, they meet refugees who are already Christians. Some are pastors forced from their home country who want to continue ministering to their own ethnic group here in the U.S. All just want to be able to settle into the safety of a community.
Hartmann also meets many refugees and immigrants with a Muslim background who are curious about Jesus. Many had dreams about Jesus while fleeing to the safety of American shores. Others say they are disillusioned by Islam and ready to learn about Jesus. Many are accepting Christ as their Savior.
In Matthew 25:35, Jesus tells us that when we welcome strangers, we welcome Him.
Refugees are hungry for food and peace. They need water and rest. But their greatest need is to meet the Healer who walked with them on their difficult journey to get here.
Pray for U.S. missionaries like the Hartmanns as they fight for the spiritual freedom of refugees and immigrants. God is sending people from war-torn countries to the U.S. to hear the gospel, and the church must recognize the opportunity and respond with kindness and grace. Our kindness opens hearts to recognize the gracious love of God. And it’s His gracious love, through Christ, that truly sets people free.
Follow the Hartmanns’ ministry, Arms of Refuge, on Facebook
To partner or learn more about U.S. Missions ministry to immigrants and refugees, visit the Intercultural Ministries website