"Was there anything special that you saw, experienced, or learned in Fort Wayne, that you want me to share with the church tommorrow?" I asked Gail on the phone a little while ago. She was a member of our TCF mission trip team in June. We're giving a short presentation during the service, and she's already committed to nursery ministry during that time.
She reminded me of the opportunity she had to take a woman and her children home after Women's Club, and how the woman invited her into the home, evidently eager for an American woman just to talk to - to practice her English, perhaps, but also just to have a human connection, a friend in this new country. Gail said that was significant to her, and made her realize that is an aspect of international ministry she can be involved in, and she is looking for opportunities here at home in North Carolina, just to befriend an international woman and spend some time with her in true fellowship and trusting relationship. What a wonderful way to love as Jesus does! I'm so glad this is something she saw in our work at I-House, and that she loved it enough to want to continue it.
So I did just a little local research this afternoon, to help Gail, and others who may be hoping for similar opportunities...
Open Arms Ministries
This Winston-Salem ministry specifically serves Karenni refugees coming from Myanmar, in a lot of the ways we serve people in Fort Wayne - teaching English, providing transportation to appointments, helping to fill out paperwork, etc. I volunteered with this ministry for a few months before I moved. It's a good place to make friends with newcomers who are longing for relationship with someone they can trust.
Here is a ministry in High Point that serves internationals, specifically helping in refugee resettlement. They want and need volunteers who want to befriend newcomer families and help them get adjusted to life in a new country. This means showing families where to find places, teaching how to use modern appliances and keep house, practicing English, helping with medical/hygiene issues, etc. These are things Hannah and I get to do at Little Burma!
Church World Service
I have not personally worked with CWS before, but they also serve international families in Greensboro and Durham, through refugee resettlements and immigrant legal services. Looks like another good opportunity to connect with families who need a friend to love them and spend time with them.
So there you go, Piedmont Triad Area! You now have some great places to look into, pray about, and connect with! If you know of other organizations/ministries that offer services in this area, please add their information in a comment below. And if you connect with one of these places and are blessed by the relationships you build, please let me know. I'd love to hear about it!