In 2016, along with a mission team from Nairobi Baptist Church, James came to serve with us for a whole week in July while our resettlement department was in a very busy season with lots of refugee arrivals. One of the churches in our network, Park Community Church, partners with James’ church in Nairobi, Kenya. Park had sent a few short term mission teams to serve in partnership with them in Kenya and in 2016 Nairobi Baptist Church sent a team to serve here in Chicago.
After returning from the trip he took with Nairobi Baptist Church, James told the group he hoped he could return to serve with WRC again someday. Two years later, James found himself with an opportunity to visit the U.S. again to see friends and family. Knowing he would once again stay with his host family from Park Church, James desired to come back to serve with World Relief Chicago. He shared, “I want to be part of the mission, to make someone smile, feel loved and cared for in a new place.” He also reflected that he thinks World Relief Chicago does a good job of reaching out to clients to meet not only their practical needs, but their spiritual needs as well.
This past week, James was able to come alongside staff and volunteers on home visits, meeting refugees in the process resettlement. Remembering how touched he was by the stories of the people he heard from the last time he was with us, James was excited to be able to assist in home visits again. Friends and volunteers like James are valuable to our home visits because they are able to speak in the residence’s home language. In James’ case, he enjoyed being able to encourage people and pray for them in their native tongue, Kiswahili.
After his brief stay and work with us during the week, James mentioned that what drew him to our mission was being able to join us as we minister to individuals and families in need and in a new place (referring to recently arrived refugees to the U.S.). James said, “I want to tell people to have hope despite whatever they’ve gone through in the past.”
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