Refugee Relief: Open Doors for Mercy and Gospel Ministry
by Rev. Christopher Cashen, OPC Evangelist to refugees in Clarkston, Georgia (March 2019)
Following is an excerpt from an update Rev. Cashen prepared for the Committee on Diaconal Ministries and OPC Disaster Response in March 2019.
The ministry to sojourners, or those seeking refuge, continues here in Clarkston, Georgia. We praise God for the opportunities He has provided thus far.
- We have rented an apartment in one of the many apartment complexes in Clarkston that provides a central and consistent location for ministry, and we are just beginning to appreciate its potential.
- We have seen a noticeable increase in attendance at our elementary after-school program. Helping with homework appears to be a key to drawing children. It also allows us time to share a bible passage. Students from Syria, Afghanistan, Congo, Mexico, and Tanzania attend the program.
- The need for those from all nations to acquire English in order to function and survive opens doors for mercy, as well as gospel, ministry. Funds have been used to reimburse travel costs, as well as purchase books, notebooks, and other supplies.
- We are trying to figure out a way to teach people from various nations/languages in a single group. I anticipate using funds to purchase bibles, as well as tablets that may help in translation.
- We are supporting a family that fled Congo in May 2018 as a result of political persecution. The family is living in our home and I am representing them in their petition for asylum. They are worshiping with us at Redeemer OPC in Atlanta, which provides an opportunity for the broader church to step in and share the love of Christ in a biblical and tangible way.
- I continue to teach youth at a local Ethiopian church. The children appear hungry for the truths of Scripture, and I have been blessed to be able to teach them reformed doctrine. An Ethiopian pastor who has been working with OPC Foreign Missions plans to come to the Clarkston area next month. It is our hope and prayer that he will be able to join in the Clarkston ministry as there are many Ethiopians in the area, and no one, to our knowledge, is teaching reformed Christianity.
- There is also the possibility of working with the PCA’s Mission to the World work here in the Clarkston area.
- For wisdom as we seek to promote the ministry to the local community, as well as to the OPC.
- For insight as we try to discern if the Lord would have us establish a second place of ministry in the Clarkson area.
- For more volunteers for the after-school program, English program, and visitation with refugee parents in their homes.
We are very thankful for the prayers and financial support provided by the Committee on Diaconal Ministries.