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God Rallies PA Church to Bless Afghan Refugees

“Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

In June 2021, an intergenerational team of students and adults from Grace Church in Willow Valley, Pennsylvania came to Atlanta for Encompass’ five-day missions training experience. At Encounter Atlanta, their team got to experience one of the most culturally diverse cities in America, and God filled their hearts with compassion for the refugees they saw.

Grace Church’s Director of Equipping and Missions, Holly Wismer, said “After the trip, I felt the Lord leading us to minister to the refugees in our area, but I didn’t know where to start, so we started a prayer meeting. Week after week, a group of five to seven people prayed that God would remove barriers in the hearts of our church family, lead us to the gatekeepers in the refugee resettlement community, and keep us attuned to the leading of His Spirit.”

Holly and the prayer team organized two dinner events which they called “A Taste of Understanding,” where they invited Afghan refugees and immigrants to prepare food from their countries and share about their cultures. The Afghans brought their friends and family and told the stories of how they came to America.

Grace Church member, Kris Green noted, “Since the Encounter Atlanta trip, I’ve had a greater heart to reach out to my clients who are immigrants,” and, “After our experience with Encounter Atlanta, we shared about it in front of the whole church, and exactly one year later (to the day), we were back in front of the church announcing how the Lord had brought us a refugee family to minister to as a church. We now have an opportunity to show compassion to these new refugees.”

In August 2022, Grace Church responded to God’s call and helped a refugee single mother of four elementary-age kids move into their new home. A group of more than 20 men from the church helped them with the move. The body of Christ rallied around them by donating household items, negotiating with their landlord, buying food, helping with school registration, working with the teachers, tutoring, teaching English, and caring for them as human beings. Some of the people involved in this ministry are new to the church, while others haven’t been this involved for years.

It’s clear that God has been moving in the hearts of his people. He started by giving just a few in Grace Church a heart for refugees and calling them to pray. As they followed the Holy Spirit’s lead, God used their obedience to bless refugees and transform their church. 

Learn more about Encompass’ five-day missions training experience, Encounter Atlanta.

Help transform the lives of refugees by giving to Encompass’ Refugee Relief Fund.