This summer an incredible group of interns flooded our campuses with passion and drive to reach people to Jesus. Here’s a story from one of our Missions’ interns:
The smell of spices and cigar smoke filled T’s apartment. T proudly showed me her new furniture given to her by donors. We laughed and carried on conversation about her new life in America and her previous life back home in Iraq. I remember closing my eyes for a second and almost believing that I was in a home deep in the heart of the Middle East. How was I in my hometown of Nashville? T is a believer. She moved to America because of religious persecution in Iraq. She received an education and had a great job back home, but moving to America is like starting all over again.
I had the opportunity to meet with T a couple of times this summer to help her with her English. You know, Matthew 19:24 says to preach the Gospel to every tribe, tongue, and nation. There are 7,000 different tongues on this earth and so many people who have never heard the name of Jesus. It can be easy to stay still and comfortable, frozen because we don’t know how to even begin such a task. Often, when I think about fulfilling this commandment I picture a foreign mission field with zero Gospel witness anywhere. I’m learning, however, that the picture that I usually have is not the only mission field there is. Did you know that there are over 60,000 refugees living in Tennessee? The majority have moved here from countries where preaching in the name of Jesus is illegal, and as a result so many know nothing about Jesus that is actually true.
T’s friend, SJ, came over to join us for dinner. SJ has been living in Nashville for a few years now. He grew up in a Muslim family but no longer identifies himself with Islam. SJ has been searching for the truth ever since he began to have troubling dreams. These dreams have haunted him and despite all the searching he’s done, he has yet to find anyone who wanted to talk to him about these dreams. As T made dinner, SJ began sharing his dreams with me. They all had uncanny similarities to bible stories. One of them stood out to me the most.
“In my dream Jesus was carrying heavy wood on his back (the cross). There were crowds of people on both sides of Him, but no one was helping Him. I looked at Jesus and I couldn’t understand why no one was helping him. I ran to Him to carry the cross for Him so He could just walk beside me, but when I put it on my shoulders the weight was too much. I fell to the ground because the cross was too heavy for me.”
MJ has shared his dreams with priests and friends before, but until that evening no one had ever been able to tell him the meaning of his dream. His dream was so clear to me and that night God gave me the words to tell Him the meaning. The beautiful thing is that you don’t have to go to seminary or be any sort of expert on the bible to share the Gospel with someone. All that is needed is to look at them and tell them that they are not able to carry the weight of their sin any longer and that they will always fall down while trying. Jesus is the only one who can carry the weight of the cross for us. There are so many more people searching just like SJ. Jesus is going before us and preparing the hearts of people – right here in Nashville.
Once I heard these wise words, “You never know who is standing on the other side of your obedience.” I think this is so true in refugee ministry because you truly have no idea how far the Gospel will spread because of your obedience. You may be reaching one family or a whole village deep in the middle east – both equally important because either way souls are being written in the book of LIFE. I pray that SJ will continue to be troubled enough by his dreams to seek the truth even more. I pray that God will place people in his path who will share the Gospel with him. I pray that soon seeds will come to fruition and He will let Jesus carry his cross for him. Will you pray? And will you do more than pray? Go into the harvest. “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” – Jesus (Matthew 9:37-38)
We partner with a ministry called World Relief in Nashville. They resettle hundreds of refugees in Nashville every year. If people want to get involved or have questions they can email email@example.com.