Building Friendships with Immigrants and Refugees for the Gospel

When Tim Schrader’s sister became a missionary in west Africa, he didn’t realize it would have a profound impact on his life in St. Louis. Once she was back in America, his sister got involved with a local RSO of the LCMS, the Christian Friends of New Americans (CFNA).

With a network of partners, CFNA works with immigrants and refugees in St. Louis, offering a wide array of services, including English classes, social connections, spiritual development and much more. Refugees in particular often have a hard time adjusting, because they came here as a result of war in their home country.

Tim’s sister encouraged him to volunteer as well. He volunteers with their furniture delivery program, afterschool tutoring and helping with medical appointments. He says, “Refugees are wonderful people. They’re a lot of fun and they need a lot of help and it’s a joy to give it to them.”

Tim has seen many refugees struggle as they acclimate to their new life in St. Louis. Learning English is a significant challenge. In fact, many refugees have valuable skills but have trouble finding working due to language or certification issues.

Tim has found that the simple act of delivering furniture has a profound impact on refugee families, because they have very little material possessions with which to build their new home. After Tim brings the donated furniture into their homes, he offers a prayer. He says that no matter what religious background they are, they always welcome his prayers.

He says, “They don’t always want the Gospel, but they want to be my friend. So, we just keep trying.”

Missouri District Office Collects Christmas Donation for CFNA

The Missouri District staff took a holiday collection of blankets, shampoo and other household items for the CFNA. It wasn’t long before the staff had filled (and then surpassed) the allocated cardboard boxes President Hagan set out for the donations.

Sue Thompson, Ministry Events Coordinator, says, “I feel like I have been very blessed this year personally, and being able to give back is something I look forward to. Being able to share a giving project with those I work with is especially great, because we’re a close team!”

How You Can Help

CFNA’s furniture delivery program is seeking donations, and their volunteers will come to your home to collect the donation.

CFNA is seeking volunteers of all skill levels. Whether you can help deliver furniture or help kids complete homework assignments, there are ways you can help immigrants and refugees in St. Louis. Contact them today to learn more.

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