USA (MNN) — Senior officials in the United States are looking to expedite the Afghan refugee resettlement process. Typically, it takes two to five years for a refugee applicant to be resettled in the U.S. According to Axios, President Biden’s team studies fast-track procedures used during the 2016 Syrian refugee crisis. They’re hoping to get Afghan allies waiting in Qatar screened, vetted, approved for refugee status, and placed on planes to the U.S. within 30 days.
Refugee resettlement provides Gospel opportunities, but is the Church ready?
“As my husband Tom and I began speaking around the country, we started noticing this common thread among the body of Christ,” JoAnn Doyle of Uncharted Ministries says.
“So many people were afraid to engage Muslims, whether it be in conversation or getting to know them in friendship – most importantly, in sharing the Gospel.”
Doyle leads Not Forgotten, a division of Uncharted Ministries. Not Forgotten equips women to reach Muslim neighbors for Christ. “We thought if we could have small gatherings to teach women how to engage Muslims, we could surely break down that barrier of fear,” Doyle says.
“Initially, we started speaking in churches and telling people how to engage Muslims, how to start conversations with them, coaching them through that process. But we realized that was just theory.”
From there, the ministry created “Seen” gatherings. “A ‘Seen’ gathering moves from theory to reality,” Doyle says. Request a “Seen” gathering here to learn how to reach out to Afghan refugees.
How does it work?
Drawing upon decades of experience in Muslim ministry, Doyle teaches women how to overcome their fear of the unknown. In a small group setting, “we’ll first do a little bit of ‘Islam 101’ to pull them behind the veil of Islam to see what life is like for women, and the difficulties they face,” she says.
“When they start understanding, some of that fear starts to fade, and empathy starts taking root.”
From understanding comes inspiration. “We want to share how God is pursuing Muslims with His love, and meeting them in their dreams, doing miracles among them, bringing people to faith in Christ,” Doyle says.
“Then, we’ll commission them just as Jesus did. Before He sent out his disciples, He gave them His authority, anointed them, and then sent them out to tell people that the Kingdom of God was at hand.”
No “Seen” gathering is complete without practical application. “We will go with these women and coach them on how to have conversations and share the love of Jesus. We’ll go to places where we know Muslims gather, whether it’s little boutiques or Middle Eastern markets, or even Friday prayers at the mosque,” Doyle says.
Finally, it’s time to regroup and discuss how the teams saw God move. “When we prepare to go on our little mini-mission outing, everyone is so afraid – their eyes are big, they are just filled with trepidation. But when we regather and debrief about what happened, it is incredible,” Doyle says.
“The women are so excited because they saw barriers break down. They saw that fear crumble, and they learned how easy it was to connect and talk with Muslim women.”
More than 76,000 Afghans have entered the U.S. so far, and most have been resettled in their new communities. “Don’t be afraid; go in the name of Jesus!” Doyle says.
“When you see a Muslim, show her that you see her. Smile; try to make eye contact and if you can have a conversation, go for it.”
Header image courtesy of 8thirty8/Shutterstock.