The past few weeks of ministry have been exciting as we’ve moved from hypothetical ideas to taking concrete steps forward. Although our Home Fellowship is small, the buy-in from everyone is extremely high. I’m excited to see what God does in the coming weeks as we invite those who are seeking and searching into this group. I’m especially pumped about a new Conversational English Club we’ve helped start on Sunday nights. Here’s just a glimpse of what God is doing. See if you can connect the dots:
- In 2008 Jason and Rebecca Vickery moved into the Riverside Avenue Apartment complex with a desire to reach out to Somalian refugees. Over the last few years Rebecca has spearheaded different efforts to serve that community with a vision of eventually creating opportunities to teach her neighbors English. She had a God-given vision, tons of passion, but experienced little traction.
- This past November we moved to Burlington with the idea of starting Home Fellowships serving different neighborhoods. With our initial Home Fellowship we all agree we want to focus on serving the refugees in Burlington’s Old North End. Through some common friends, Christin and I are introduced to Rebecca and Jason. We all see an obvious open door to begin serving.
- We put the word out that through Awareness to Action (a nonprofit I helped start in NJ) that we’re beginning a Conversational English Club and looking for volunteers to mentor refugees in English. The result was fourteen volunteers including people from our Home Fellowship, North Ave. Alliance Church, the Navigators ministry at UVM, and a few from the surrounding community. We held an orientation with these very excited and motivated volunteers on Sunday, April 10.
- On Friday, April 8, I received an email through my blog from Michael Ly. Turns out Michael is an accounting professional in Seattle and one of the pastors at Soma Communities (a church doing something very similar to what we’re attempting). He also happened to be in VT visiting his in-laws. We met for coffee the afternoon just before our English Club volunteer orientation. Guess what area of Seattle he focuses on serving? A community of 70,000 Somalian refugees. He’s also the Northwest Director for an organization called Peace Catalyst. What an amazing guy to learn from!
- Last night we finally kicked off our Conversational English Club last night with ten students, and it was AMAZING! This is going to be a six week trial run, but we already have more refugee students wanting to attend and more potential volunteers wanting to jump on board. This has the potential to grow exponentially. We’ve also been so blessed to have the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program open up their tutor training to our volunteers and help us figure out what we’re doing as we move forward.
Here are a few ways you can pray for us in these coming weeks:
- Pray that through our Conversational English Club that God will enable us to bridge cultural, language, and religious barriers. Pray that we’ll develop meaningful relationships with our refugee neighbors.
- Pray that God will give Christin and I wisdom in serving a Nepali family through the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program. We’re becoming fast friends and want to be a blessing to them as they adjust to life in America.
- Pray that this Easter Sunday we’ll see some of our friends who are seeking and searching attend our Home Fellowship. Pray that the hope we have in Jesus’ resurrection comes through loud and clear.
- Pray for God to send more workers for the harvest. We are asking that God will continue to add to our core group, either by raising up leaders from the Burlington community or leading people to transplant their lives here.
- Pray for Christin and I as we prepare for our baby girl who is due on May 6- she could come any time!