In the last two weeks I made two trips to connect with pastors and mission leaders in Ontario, Canada, and the American Midwest. One of the hot topics in both places was ministry among Muslims. It was no surprise that Toronto, one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, has a large number of Muslims. Important work is going on there by a Christian Reformed minister who has a burden to love and share Christ with Muslims. More surprising is the fact that another CRC minister living in a modestly sized city on the Great Plains has a similar burden and opportunity. Large numbers of recent immigrants have come into that city in order to work in a meat-packing plant. In many cases men have gone ahead of their families. They face loneliness and have time on their hands. Encountering culture shock may enable them to reconsider long-held beliefs and practices. There too, sharing Christ must come in the context of a relationship of love and concern for the person. Christ took on flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we need to follow that example.
These phenomena show again that the traditional division between home and world missions is breaking down. We now encounter people domestically who in the past were the province of foreign missions. Expertise gained in one setting is increasingly useful in the other. Some churches have grabbed onto the opportunity to do cross-cultural ministry in the local context. English as a Second Language instruction is offered in quite a few churches now. Some are also assisting immigrants in relating to government and other programs that assist new immigrant. My sister-in-law has worked extensively with a family from West Africa who were displaced by war and eventually made their way to the U.S. This is a growing area of ministry, not only in the major cities of North America, but also in smaller ones and even in some rural areas.
If you or your church are engaged in this kind of ministry, let others in the Network know about your challenges and joys in it.