The word "refugee" sparks many different emotions these days. However, what if the reason why some (or perhaps even all) refugees were ripped out of their homes was by design of our sovereign God, to give people who otherwise would potentially never have had a chance to hear about Jesus to suddenly be in an environment in which they could freely hear the message?
Such is the situation with the people group from one of the least-reached nations of the world, who now are trying to build new lives in the U.S. The East African country from which they came has been firmly closed to Gospel workers for over 25 years and is well known for its persecution of Christian converts. These Muslim tribes lived in remote, rural regions of that country, and had very little chance to ever hear the Gospel. Yet, after experiencing horrific atrocities at the hands of their fellow countrymen, they fled to refugee camps. They waited many years to find a new home and have now been welcomed by the U.S. government to be resettled in America.
As a communal society, they are drawn to gather together in pockets of the country, forming a new village tribal structure within the confines of a much larger city. Our city is home to over 95 refugee families, who have arrived without the language, education, and skills necessary to assimilate into the socioeconomic fabric of life in America. This refugee community has reached out for help, and God has raised up a team of workers to engage in meeting some of their practical needs, providing a platform and level of trust in which the team can share about Jesus. This has resulted in a significant shift in the community's openness to be in relationship with followers of Jesus and to hear the message that they bring.
The Somali Bantu Community speaks Kizigua, a language that prior to their arriving in Pittsburgh, was not a written language. They therefore had no way to read the Word of God in their heart language. In the last several years, a vocabulary and dictionary is continuing to grow, and major progress is being made to enhance communication and understanding for the SB people. Here is a unique opportunity for a Goer with an interest in and a passion for language to have a part of this groundbreaking work, to facilitate spreading the Word of God to the community in Pittsburgh, and to other SB communities around the world!
A Goer who will thrive in this position must have a desire to serve a community of refugees from an African country closed to the Gospel, who have a very different understanding of culture and language than what they have known in their country of origin. Goers should have a good listening ear, patience, and a willingness to learn to communicate with those who may not speak English. Also, a basic understanding of structure and elements of language is helpful.