On Saturday, December 17, Christian Friends of New Americans in St. Louis, Missouri, hosted their monthly women’s Bible study. Each month, in partnership with LWML’s Heart-to-Heart Sisters, women from around the world gather around the Word to learn more about their Savior, Jesus Christ, and share food from their own cultural backgrounds.
This particular day, however, was a little different. First of all, it was their Christmas celebration. In addition to that, it was much larger than usual: more than thirty women met, twenty of whom were refugees from Syria. Over the past several months, women from this community began attending the study, and the numbers continue to grow.
The volunteers at Christian Friends of New Americans wanted these newcomers to feel welcome and cared for, so they prepared gifts for their annual Christmas party. Many of these volunteers are refugees themselves, sharing the Christian love they experienced upon their arrival with others. These volunteers gathered baskets of goods, blankets donated by local LCMS churches, and—thanks to the generous donors of Concordia Gospel Outreach—Christian books for children.
“The Heart-to-Heart Christmas party for Syrian and Afghan refugees began with a welcome and an inspirational devotion that told the Christmas story,” reported Carol Buckman on the CFNA site. “As translators shared in Farsi and Arabic, there were smiles and there were some tears.”
Children also attended the event, enjoying a movie with friends and receiving God’s Word through these books.
“I think the event was great!” said Fadia Jenkins, a volunteer who uses her own international experiences to reach out to people from all over the world. “Many of the refugees have children that speak English. The books were given to them in baskets filled with other home items, hoping the kids will read about Jesus and the Bible and be able to share their stories with their parents, as well as use the books to practice their English.”
Christian Friends of New Americans actively seeks out refugees and others who arrive in the St. Louis area, providing them with goods, educational opportunities, and connections to Lutheran church homes. A few of the books donated by CGO were also placed in the classrooms of their building to reach children from all nations.
“First of all,” said Jenkins, “thank you for sending these very nice books! Your contribution helps reach out to families in need to hear the Gospel in more than one way at a time in their life where they may feel lonely, misplaced, confused, and desperate for kindness.”
Those who may have never heard God’s Word before now have the truth of Jesus in their homes.
“Though we may never know whose heart is touched,” Jenkins added, “we believe God’s Word never returns empty.”