Refugees from Haiti join Hispanics to share church
Refugee. This word represents people who come from their country fleeing wars, famines, natural disasters or political situations that put their lives in danger. Refugees. The word scares us. Many people think that large groups of people are invading our corner of the planet like grasshoppers. We don’t know if it’s selfishness or a sense of self-protection, but when someone of another color or race or with another language comes into the neighborhood, it somehow alters our peace. They, the refugees, have already gotten used to those hostile looks that say, “You’re not from here, go your way, you don’t belong to us.
Many years ago God called Abram from Ur of the Chaldeans to come out and dwell in the land of Canaan. He obeyed. Ur of the Chaldeans was a good place to live; it was the land to which he and his family belonged. God wanted him to live as a stranger, however, and that was his experience for the rest of his life: being a stranger.
The interesting thing about the story is that he did not come to an uninhabited land, but rather to a land that already had an owner: “Abram traveled the land to the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land” (Genesis 12:6, NIV). Abram did not come alone. It was a long caravan of those who had gone with him from Ur, plus all those he had purchased and acquired in Haran; and it is very likely that the Canaanites stood outside their homes or by the side of the road, watching over their lands and possessions because they were afraid of this great group of foreigners who had come to live in their land .
The social aspect, how they were received, is a secondary aspect, and that’s something we can’t change. However, the most important aspect of the story is what happened next: “The Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘I will give this land to your offspring.’ And there he built an altar to the Lord who had appeared to him” (v. 7, NKJV). Abram did not build an altar to God in U, or Haran; he built it in Canaan.
As a church, as people of God, we are called to build altars or places of worship to God. And that’s what we do. The Kansas-Nebraska Conference Multilingual Department coordinates monitoring and assistance to less fortunate, foreigners, and refugees who come to these lands, and we invite them to give glory to God and build places of worship.
We have already heard of many refugees from Myanmar who have come to our territory and who already have a beautiful church in Omaha, Nebraska where they worship God every Sabbath. However, I want to tell you about a new group from Haiti, which has come to the lands of Garden City, Kansas. Due to various circumstances, one Sabbath morning, a family who spoke Creole, some Spanish, and very little English, came to the Hispanic Church to worship God. There they were well received.
Working with church members, local pastor David Meza established a program to help the family and provide them with a place to worship God. The group grew, more arrived and the need for more space was evident. Together, Hispanics and Haitians began to pray to God, and He answered. Eventually they found a large building: an abandoned restaurant that had been for sale for a long time. They bought it for much less than it would normally cost, and repairs and renovations began. The brothers and sisters of the Hispanic Church assumed the costs and the debt to achieve the goal: a church, a building with two places of worship, one for them and another for our Haitian brothers and sisters.
Today, a group of over 30 Haitians gather to worship God in Garden City.
It is wonderful to visit them and see how, just steps away from each other, these two groups, children of Abraham, worship the Creator.
You can read the original story here