One of the benefits of freelance writing on immigrant-related issues is getting to meet such a wide variety of people living lives of welcome all over North America!
SK is one of these people! She is deeply involved in the lives of refugee children and their families in a large American city.
I’m so grateful to share her wisdom with you today on how to incorporate “visiting ministry” into your own life.
JU: What is visiting ministry?
SK: Visiting ministry is a time set aside for intentionally visiting our international neighbors. My church is connected with them already through neighborhood Kids’ Club and ESL classes. These neighbors have a great desire to welcome us hospitably into their homes and spend more time with us.
However, in our busy American schedules it’s easy to brush aside these opportunities. Visiting ministry prioritizes spending time with them in their homes. For this time period, visiting ministry has been on Monday evenings from 6-8pm. We visit in pairs.
JU: How did you get started doing this specific kind of ministry?
SK: I was asking some questions to woman after her session at a conference on refugee ministry. She looked at me and said, “You need to start a visiting ministry!” And then she described how that might work. I realized that is exactly what my church in Amman, Jordan did. Each Monday night, whoever showed up would divide into pairs and go out and visit Iraqi refugees. It worked well!
JU: Why is it important/helpful?
SK: Visiting someone in their home teaches you so much about them. It’s easy to interact with my English students and think only of their English abilities. But when I am in their home, I easily learn more about their world…their responsibilities as a wife and mother, their amazing cooking ability, their personality. It helps us get to know each other as friends outside of a formal relationship.
Similarly, I can easily think primarily about a child’s challenging behavior at Kids’ Club; in their home, I see different strengths and learn about their interactions with their family and what they do for fun at home.
JU: What a wonderful idea. What’s the first step for someone to get involved in this kind of ministry today?
SK: Here are some ideas:
- Find a friend and go knock on the door of an international neighbor together!
- Pray as you go.
- If your church is already connecting with families through a certain ministry, take the opportunity to deepen those relationships by asking if you can come visit sometime.
- Don’t be afraid to initiate or just show up and say hi, perhaps dropping off a baked good or flier.
- Set aside a time in your schedule where you will plan to spend it with visiting.
- Pray for God to lead you during that time each week!
JU: Thank you, SK, for sharing with us!
For more on the topic of visiting ministry, click here.