…. they were unschooled, ordinary men …. they had been with Jesus …. the crippled man healed standing with them – Acts 4:13,14

Migrants, overseas students, etc – missions, outreach ministry stories, possibilities

In Acts 2, on the day of Pentecost, in the city were Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, Rome, Cretans and Arabs.
A multicultural, multilingual dayspring of God’s light across the world ….

Today in cities, workplaces and education institutes, we’re increasing immersed in multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual environments of diverse people from various parts of the world.  Just smell and taste the aroma of the mouth-watering pots of exotic and fusion food that’s being served near our doorsteps. 🙂
Not long ago, at work … was involved in a project with a team of people who were from 10 nations, residing in the city.

The exotic global mosaic is in our city.
They’re here, living amongst us, and most speak English.
Thus, if we desire to reach out to the nations, be part of  ‘missions’,
here’s a simple open door — no need for flights, or learn a new language, or special budget required.
Why fly there, … when they’re already here, in our midst ?

Everyday folks living everyday lives,
building friendships with their neighbors in multi-ethnic neighborhoods,
… serving others in the city,
lending a helping hand, … serving a cup of water,

ordinary, everyday folks led by an extra-ordinary God
in their city.

“Then the King will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, anything you did
for even the least of my people here,
you also did for me.’
Matthew 25:40 (NCV)


Is missions = overseas?
Who are the the better equipped folks for short-term missions ?

.. after returning from a short-term mission trip to an ethnic group,
does one seek opportunities to meet/serve similar ethnic people living in one’s own home city?

At a baptism service, heard the testimonies of 3 Middle Eastern friends from another faith.  One Sunday morning, while passing through Chinatown, they happened to pass by a church.  They somehow became curious, …. and decided to walk in.  They stepped right into a morning service.  Through making new friends and coming back to explore further …. they decided to follow Jesus.  Praise God !

It was a cold and wet afternoon,  raining hard the whole day.  I was due to share at a small simple-English meeting at church that afternoon.  This meeting reaches out to passer-bys walking on the busy street right outside the church, hoping that they will step into the church to hear the gospel, some for the very first time.
But as I looked at the weather and the pouring rain outside
…. I wondered if anyone was going to show up.
As we prepared to start the service, a French speaking North African lady from another faith walked in.  She was early, and we struck up a conversation.  I was curious as to why she came on such a cold and wet day.  She shared that during the week, while on her way to work, she spotted the church sign, … and made a note to return on Sunday to find out more.
That wet and rainy day, she heard the gospel for the very first time.
O, me of little faith 🙂

A week earlier, a Taiwanese young man with limited English walked in halfway through the meeting, and at the end of the service he received Christ.   This is the first time he heard the gospel, and he promptly received Christ after only hearing half the message in my limited Mandarin.  He was simply drawn to come into the meeting, when he saw the sign outside the church, as he walked pass the church that afternoon.  Truly the amazing grace of God!

One mainland Chinese couple I know came to the Lord, when they received a Gideons New Testament from a stranger on their way to attend classes.  They somehow found the stranger later, and had a chat, and were led to Christ.

Recently, was at a  Chinese-speaking bible study,  5 people came to the Lord – a lady from another faith, a doctor, another visitor, and 2 overseas visitors who were visiting friends/relatives here.  (This was not an evangelistic meeting, just a Bible study.)

Met a mainland Chinese grandma after church service.  God healed her arm, she was amazed, kept looking at her arm.  She received the Lord, .. her first time to church.  Praise God!

At a train station recently, an Indian man’s leg was healed by the Lord.   As a result, he and his wife came to the Lord at the train station.  We learned that this couple stays in a room rented from a Korean pastor.
This pastor rents  5 houses in the city, which he sub-lets to newly arrived migrants, guest workers from various nations.  He helps them settle in, shares with them Jesus, and introduces them to his multicultural church.   Praise God!  A creative and practical approach to reaching out.

And wherever they were scattered,
they told people the Good News
Acts 8:4 (NCV)

By God’s grace, over time, … unconsciously, have stumbled into interesting ministries to migrants and overseas students, etc.
Had the privilege of befriending these new friends and arrivals, and led a number to the Lord.  As most of them speak varying degrees of English, it was easy to get to know them.  At times, my Mandarin was also useful.   Here’s, some very encouraging observations:

  • Migrants and overseas students stepping into churches and Bible study groups without anyone inviting them.  Sometimes they are from another religion.  They are curious and like to find out more.  They faithfully come, listening attentively,  returning each week to learn more.  Unlike back in their home country, they come without the fear of consequences of their visit.  Some even travel a distance to come to church or Bible study meetings.
  • Migrants and overseas students seeking to belong to a friendly and supportive community of people who speak their language and culture from back home.  Someone to show them the ropes of their new country.  Some just somehow turn up at services on their own accord.
    I know of a church service ministering to mainland and overseas Chinese students, sited near a university.   They started four years ago with 16 people.  This congregation has doubled every year.  Recently there were more than 100 people in the service;   they had to quickly print more service bulletins.
    Met an Indonesian brother who serves in an Indonesian speaking church.  The church started with 24 people, and has since grown to more than 400.   When asked about the keys to the growth of this church, he attributed it to a community help ministry in the church which supports people with needs (eg. new migrants, students, etc).  This help ministry was made known through word-of-mouth within the community.
  • The visitors are curious, open to find out, open to new experiences, and desire to discover at their own pace.  Generally in street evangelism settings, migrants are generally open to listen to a presentation of the gospel (presented with testimonies, in gentleness and respect, active listening). 

“People don’t care how much you know until
they know how much you care.”
— Howard Hendricks

  •  For those who have come to know and experienced Jesus, they are eager to share Jesus with their friends and families.  They are naturally evangelistic.   A dear migrant brother shared that after he came to Jesus, his fellow country friends started enquiring about his new faith, and what’s it been like since knowing Jesus.  He gladly shares his experience with them.
    Met an Indian brother who just very recently came to the Lord, … and he soon spontaneously joined  a street-evangelism group,…  joyfully sharing his testimony and new found faith in Jesus to others.  Praise God!  Was also blessed to see the  Christians around him respecting his vegetarian dietary upbringing.
John 1:40-42 (NIV)
40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ).
42 And he brought him to Jesus.  
Romans 14:17 (NIV)
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit
  • A dear mainland Chinese brother I know is going back home for a month.  He’s keen to show and share “the new me to my friends and relatives” (in his own words).   They met the ‘old him’ last year when he was back home (before he received Christ).  He’s also bringing some Gideons NT bibles in his native language to give to his relatives and friends, some who’ll be hearing about  Jesus for the very first time.
    He also shared with me that before coming to the Lord … amongst his friends, they know that when faced with marital problems, … ‘go to church, they are able to help‘.

Some are really hungry for God’s word.  There was an occasion, after two hours of Bible sharing with some mainland Chinese folks,
they asked, “还有吗?”,   i.e. “Is there more you can share with us?

On another occasion, was seated next to an African brother who had limited English, having fled a civil war in his country.  Using his African-language Bible, he was quick to locate the verses that was referenced during the Bible sharing (in English).
And, on the pages of his Bible, …  there were written annotations and personal notes;
… certainly a diligent workman in God’s word.

1 Thessalonians 2:13
For this reason we also thank God without ceasing,
because when you received the word of God which you heard from us,
you welcomed it not as the word of men,
but as it is in truth, the word of God,
which also effectively works in you who believe.

A hunger and reverence for God’s Word.

One of the blessed fruit of migrant ministry, is that migrants/overseas students regularly visit their friends/relatives in their home country; for some, they return home annually.
Also, friends and relatives from their home country come over to visit them, … and join them for church on Sunday, … some for the first time.

Another migrant couple shared that “their best and most important experience since coming to this new country is knowing Jesus”.
Having found Christ in their new country, they are keen to return back to their home country to share  with their family and friends back home who have never heard the gospel.  Was warmly touched when a grandfather I know, in his seventies, … who recently came to the Lord, … shared his passionate desire to bring the gospel to his friends and relatives on his next trip home to China.

As a well-known Chinese gospel song says – ‘this life’s most perfect, prosperous blessing is truly to know Jesus’

Hence, a self-funded, willing, passionate and evangelistic short/long-term missionary who is fully fluent in the language, culture, food and weather … with a testimony to share, … and a community of local friends and relatives who know them pesonally.  Hallelujah !
Young, middle-aged and seniors.  No need for missions conferences to spur these brethren to “Go ye into the nations” 🙂
They’ve truly come out into the light, and passionately desire to share God’s light back home.

John 4:28,29, 39 (NIV)
Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him. 
… 39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”

Mark 4:20 (NIV)
Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” 

The followers went everywhere in the world
and told the Good News to people,
and the Lord helped them. …

Mark 16:20 (NCV)

Met an unassuming Korean migrant brother who became a Christian after moving over from Korea.  He experienced the love of Jesus, which turned his life around. Although he had limited English, he was very keen to share the gospel to the locals and migrants in his new country.  His desire was so great that he prepared his testimony in English, and memorised  a 10-page English evangelism script from an evangelism ministry …. and started passionately street-witnessing in the city on his own.
When he first started out, the people he met, helped him correct his English … And through his faithfulness, he led a good number of nationalities to Christ with his limited English.  Through his work, together with others, they spawned a multi-ethnic church service of new believers.  Praise God!

1 Corinthians 2:1, 4, 5 (NIV)
And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

Met a South East Asian grandfather in his 70s.  He weekly takes an hour train ride to a Middle-Eastern area to share the gospel with migrants and refugees who congregate at a square near the train station.   On another evening he goes there to follow-up and bible study with some new believers at a home in the suburb.   Truly an inspiration for all of us younger !
Interestingly, at the home  where they meet, … its stocked with Bible translations of various ethnic Middle Eastern languages for newcomers.

For Christ’s love compels us …
2 Corinthians 5:14 (NIV)

At a bookstore, bumped into an interesting South East Asian Chinese man who was buying more than 15 books.  Struck a conversation, and found he was bringing the books to Asia to bless some pastors.  He shared that the early 1990s, he found quite a number of mainland Chinese people were living at a neighboring suburb (where there was a wholesale market).  He found the missions field was right at his doorstep.  With some tracts, he started sharing Jesus with them.  He also invited those keen to know more,  to come to his home to watch the Jesus film in Mandarin.  Quite a number came to the Lord, and he started discipling them at his home.  Soon their singing was too loud for the neighborhood, and a church was born, and he became the pastor.  A self-funded, compassionate, spontaneous church plant right where he lives.  Praise God!

Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. …
Greet also the church that meets at their house.

Give my greetings … to Nympha and the church in her house.

To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker
… and to the church that meets in your home
Romans 16:3, 5, Colossians 4:15, Philemon 1:1,2 (NIV)

Another South East Asian brother started a bilingual ministry to Chinese people at his home.  It soon outgrew his home.  They found a hall at an Anglican church was available for a nominal rent.
A year later, seeing there were more Chinese moving into the suburb, the Anglican vicar invited the Chinese ministry to be part of the church.  So, after a 3-year startup, the Chinese ministry did not have to raise a building fund, … and the English-speaking Anglican church had an instant Chinese service to minister to the Chinese folks in the suburb.  A win-win partnership, praise God!

6:9 “There’s a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish
—but what are they for so many?”

16:9 Don’t you remember the five loaves
for the 5,000  
and how many baskets you collected?
John 6:9 , Matthew 16:9 (HCSB)  

Over a meal one day, a colleague asked,
“I have read your Bible, … have you read my holy book?”

“Honestly, … No, I haven’t”, I replied.

So began a series of interesting conversations where we explored each other’s book;
bridging mutual understanding, … swapping stories,
…  building friendship.

Treat others the same way
you want  them
to treat you.

Luke 6:31 (NASB)

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
1 Peter 3:18 (NIV)

30 Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said,
“Do you understand what you are reading?”

31 And he (the Ethiopian) said,
“Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?”
And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
Acts 8:30, 31 (NASB)

At an informal multicultural ethnic ministry gathering last year,
met more than fifty …  young and old, … lay people and full-timers … from various types of churches,  … from every continent … all faithfully, unassumingly involved in some way in reaching out to the Middle Eastern community in the city.  During the sharing, singing and eating … for a moment, I caught a glimpse of heaven … in all its rich diversity,

Revelations 7:9,10 (NIV)
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
10 And they cried out in a loud voice:

Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”

There, I heard a passionate older Middle-Eastern brother shared an easy, simple practical 3-step ministry approach  (no training required 🙂 ) :

  • go to them
  • find out what they need
  • help them

His ministry of helps extends to new migrants and refugees from these countries ….

He said, “it could be as simple as sharing a meal,  filling up a form, driving them to apply for documentation, helping them to settle in, giving them stuff to start a home, etc.”  His ministry also includes a regular meal at church for these new friends.

Some friends I know, help by teaching English to these new arrivals, making new friends and serving them.  A dear brother who is involved, shared that while the parents are attending the English class, their children attend sunday school.  In his class, an elderly couple in their eighties regularly comes to the class although they live afar off (an hour away).  As a result, their son attends the service while waiting for his parents.  The participants are happy that they learn the local language that will help them to be part of their new community.

Here’s a little story from him recently,
“Two Middle Eastern friends missed class last Sunday.
We were a little disappointed, as they were quite new to the class.

Later, … thankfully,  they arrived … more than an hour late.
They apologized, and explained that they were at church
getting baptized!

Our disappointment turned into joy!” 🙂

In short …. simply love them … serve them … make a new friend 🙂
… swap stories 🙂 🙂

No special skills required.

Further reading:

Here’s an inspiring story of how a church grew through blessing refugees that arrived in their city (click here)

Inner City/Urban | Sharing Jesus

by 林弟兄, bro Lim
June 22, 2014

Copyright © 林弟兄 bro Lim, Laymanointing, 2014-2017 – All Rights Reserved
Creative Commons License



This entry was posted on June 22, 2014 by in cross-culture, Daily Rice, Inner City / Urban, Ministry, Missions, Sharing Jesus and tagged .

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