To say life has been busy lately is quite an understatement. I have been involved in teaching English to refugees, tutoring at the Homework Center of a neighborhood ministry, hosting people in our home who are on furlough from the mission field, accompanying visiting youth teams on outreach all around the city, visiting with Muslim ladies in their homes, and learning about the religions and cultures of our neighborhood.
After working with the young people on their homework, God gave Katrina and me favor with the girls, and we asked them to our house for a party. Twelve girls aged 6 to 14, from Malaysia, India, and Iraq, came for cupcake decorating, games, and a short devotional. It was great fun and a great beginning for more times together this summer.
On another occasion, colleagues invited us to their home to welcome an Afghani woman and her 10 children who have recently settled in the United States and need lots of help with things like getting jobs, learning English, even buying a home. We are following up with this single mother who is a sincere seeker of faith in Jesus.
I helped organize and host a party for an extended family of about thirty Nepali. Held at a nearby park hall, we had lots of yummy food and showed a Nepali-language evangelistic feature-length film. It was well received by the whole group, and afterward we had a good discussion (through interpreters) about the central message of the film. I gave one of the ladies, Kinah, a ride home from the party, and she invited me into her home, where I met her disabled husband and invalid mother-in-law. It is quite common here to have an aging elder in the home to be cared for by the entire family. I was able to pray for Kinah, who is carrying a heavy load – working, going to school to learn English and become a citizen, and taking a shift to care for her mother-in-law.
We mentioned previously how God has chosen the exact place where we should live, and we continue to discover just how much it means to those we meet that we are living in the neighborhood rather than coming in from elsewhere. Every day we are able to greet them and be part of their lives. Every day we are able to shine for Jesus and give a reason for the hope that we have. My friend, Sajita, who is a cashier in the local fresh market, is trusting me more and has even introduced me as her friend to others. Pray that soon I will get an invitation to her home. She is a Hindu and is shy to come to my home.
We are rejoicing in the privilege of serving Jesus in our neighborhood. We need guidance and wisdom as we learn the many cultures and customs of people here. We want to see a disciple-making movement among the different people groups to which we have access. This is our goal.
(Jill Kenney lives with her husband, Michael, and daughter, Katrina, in a large North American city, surrounded by immigrants from many countries with whom the Kenneys share the Good News of the Kingdom of God.)