Driving Conversations

Christian Friends of New Americans is all about touching the lives of refugees and immigrants in the St. Louis area, with the assistance of volunteers and staff at their building, the Peace Center. Some of the many resources they offer are English as a second language and Driver’s Ed. classes which has recently greatly helped a group of Indian men.

These men have arrived via New York, eventually being settled in St. Louis, close to the Peace Center. Around 20 of these men– Hindus and Buddhists by faith– have been attending ESL and Driver’s Ed. so they can get themselves to their jobs (which requires transportation.) “We struggled for almost 3 years now because of English problem and driving problem…nobody can help us,” notes Jalim S., one of the students. “But CFNA help us a lot. I studied here and got my license permit, then all the American volunteer help me prepare for my driving test… Thank you so much.”

CFNA Operations Associate, Gary Schaefer, spent a lot of time training Jalim for his on-road driving test, and many of these occasions were a time for prayer to Jesus, and to talk about Jesus. “On Good Friday morning before I went to church worship, I taught Jalim a driving lesson, because I felt this would give me an opportunity to share the crucifixion and resurrection story of Jesus…Jalim was a curious listener and I felt I witnessed God’s story in Christ to a Hindu man. This is what we should be doing at CFNA, and I thank God for the opportunity,” observed Gary.

For the over 50 Driver’s Ed. students at CFNA (mostly Afghans, Indians, Congolese, and Sudanese), Lutheran volunteers, and CFNA’s cars have been a blessing. Jalim got his driver’s license, and he got his other friends to come to CFNA- “My friends have to get their license,” said Jalim, “...I told them these are good Christian people who help us.”

CFNA has been engaging this group of men for the past 4-5 months, and four of the men have their licenses. And while the CFNA ministry has been impactful in securing their freedom of mobility, more significantly, it has also helped them engage with Christians in St. Louis, and be introduced to the freedom they have in Christ Jesus as a welcomed child of God.