San Diego Refugee Outreach

Mo* spent his childhood in a village full of people just like him. They shared the same beliefs, the same values, and the same foods. Tension was high between his people and the people from the surrounding villages. They managed to live alongside each other without violence until power in the government shifted. In a single day, violence broke out across Mo’s country. His family fled in the middle of the night. They traveled to a camp across their country’s border. They lived among refugees from several nearby countries, hoping one day it would be their turn to relocate to a better place. The days turned into months and months into years. Mo wondered if his family had been forgotten.

During this time Mo lived among people who were not like him. They worshipped different gods, they spoke different languages, they dressed in strange clothes, and they ate different foods. Most of all, Mo was curious about the god his new neighbors worshipped. He had heard about Christians. He had heard they worshipped three gods, that they were immoral, and that they were never to be trusted. Still, he was interested in his new neighbors. He tried to watch and learn, but tensions ran high between the different people groups and there was little to no trust.

One day, Mo and his family were told it was time to leave. They would be going to San Diego, a city in the United States. All Mo knew was that the United States was a place where he could go to school and his parents could find work. They gathered their few possessions and looked, one last time, for his brother who had disappeared months earlier. With sad hearts they boarded the plane without him.

When Mo got off the airplane in San Diego, a friendly American couple met him. With his limited English he greeted them, trying to be sure he honored who he hoped would become his new friends. His family moved into a small apartment, and the couple visited them often. They brought food, helped with paperwork, and made sure his younger siblings got all the vaccines they needed to go to school.

Over time, Mo learned that his new friends were followers of Jesus. He listened intently whenever they shared stories about Jesus’ life. The curiosity that had burned inside when he was at the camp began to burn again. He heard stories of Jesus healing blind men, teaching people to love God and love others, and telling his followers that he was the way and the truth. Mo was devout to his religion and his family. He couldn’t imagine leaving either one, and yet Jesus had captured his heart and mind. Was Jesus really the only way to God? Could he possibly be God? Questions like this consumed Mo’s thoughts. He was afraid to ask anyone, worried his family might feel betrayed.

One night, while he was sleeping, he met Jesus in a dream. Jesus said the very words Mo had heard in the story. When Mo woke up he knew Jesus was real. He wanted to spend the rest of his life living in a way worthy of Jesus, being his follower just like the men in the stories. Mo began asking questions and studying the Bible with his American friends. He finally shared with them that he believed in Jesus and wanted to learn how to follow him. His friends taught him to read scripture and learn from the living word of God. Mo began to pray for the Holy Spirit to bring his entire family to Jesus. He prayed for wisdom to know how to follow Jesus in his community.

As the San Diego staff and partners have the chance to share about the teachings of Jesus with men and women like Mo, they are often met with curious hearts. They are trusting that Jesus will continue to reveal himself and raise up leaders among the many people groups represented in their city. The nations are in their neighborhood. Revelation 7:9 describes a time when every nation, tribe and tongue will gather together to worship Jesus. They trust that God will expand his church by raising up men and women like Mo.

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