We, VOR volunteers and staff, love God. God’s love compels us to love our new neighbors by serving them after they have endured a hard journey. To show this love in action, we meet refugees’ practical needs and welcome them into our communities. We provide services that help refugees begin to heal and equip them to support their families. Recognizing how vulnerable refugees are, we ensure that our motivation is single-minded: love.
As born-again Christians, we are not shy about saying all our support and services are given in Jesus’ Name. But, do we realize that, when we say this, we put God’s reputation at stake in the mind of refugees? If we do not fulfill our promises, the reputation of God of the Bible can be ruined in a refugee’s heart. Whatever we do at VOR, we need to keep this at the forefront of our minds.
We are also motivated to share the good news of Jesus Christ, so that newcomers can experience the love of Jesus Christ in a restored relationship. Especially when it comes to sharing our faith with those who are vulnerable, we need to honor God and submit to His Word. Specifically, we commit to humbly putting the interests of refugees before our own desires, even when the desire is to share the good news of Jesus Christ (Phil. 2:3-4). VOR is not a social justice non-profit, but a Christian charity. However, we are not a Christian church from the perspective of refugees. If refugees want spiritual guidance, they will seek out mosques, a church, or a trusted friend.
Let’s consider what this looks like in our ESL classes, our most popular ministry:
We offer English as a second language (ESL), because we know this is a critical skill for refugees to become self-sufficient. Since we love and honor refugees, we work hard to create the best ESL learning environment and use the best ESL tools so newcomers can quickly learn English. We do not allow proselytizing during classes. This ensures the interests of all the refugees in each class are ahead of ours.
However, as Christ commands, we want our Christian ESL teachers to ‘salt’ class discussions with their relationship with God naturally when refugees are doing the same. In other words, we are authentic Christ followers who share our lives and values, while being faithful to the purpose of the gathering. In this case, it is an ESL class, not a bible devotion (which we do offer too!). The Christian teachers’ priority must remain teaching ESL to the best of their ability to keep our promise of service and, in this way, to honor every student attending.
Our prayer is that God uses the many personal relationships built over the years between a VOR volunteer and refugee to draw refugees to Him. If we are not willing to wait to share the gospel according to the Holy Spirit’s timing, then sharing the gospel has nothing to do with loving our new neighbors. We humans can take the most noble act, sharing the gospel of grace of Jesus Christ and make it about us. If you come to VOR just to win souls, check your motivation. Do you go to work or attend a party just to win souls? If you do not, do not do it at VOR activities either. But if you love the people at your work, love your friends, and love refugees, do walk in the Holy Spirit, act in their interests above yours, salt your conversations, and be ready to make a defense to anyone who asks you about the hope that is in you, Jesus Christ, but do it with gentleness and respect!
We are about to offer a new (and potentially second highly valued) service at VOR: a driver training course and driving practice through a newly purchased driving simulator. The simulator has 16 short modules for students to learn and practice new driving skills. Are you interested in helping refugees learn to drive? Driving coaches ask questions to check their students’ understanding and awareness in driving situations, encourage them to persist, and help identify areas needing more practice. But most of all…
God wants to use driving coaches to build lasting relationships with refugees! Each driving coach will work with the same student (of the same gender) for eight to twelve 1-hour sessions— the amount of time each student will take to become ready for on-the-road practice driving (NOT a driving coach responsibility). Our prayer is for each coach-student pair to have a real opportunity to get to know each other and build an authentic relationship. We pray that God blesses each friendship, and that refugees would feel both helped AND loved and ultimately come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
If you would like to serve as a driving coach to help refugees overcome one of their greatest barrier to employment and adjusting to U.S. life, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.