I Was a Stranger and You Invited Me In
At the ACC after-school tutoring program a few weeks ago Pastor David casually mentioned to me that he and Sobeyda were going to be hosting a refugee family from El Salvador. My heart jumped with excitement...what an opportunity for ACC to show the love of God! I also was encouraged by their willingness to share their living space with strangers, knowing they give so much already as a Pastor and Counselor. The next day Carolina and her almost 11 year old son Onandy arrived.
The mission of ACC is to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to our neighbors, to welcome them into loving community, and to equip them to glorify God. And further our Outreach Team's mission is to equip the church to extend mercy and justice to our neighbors in Astoria. We had the privilege of welcoming these two into loving community and extending mercy and justice to some neighbors from Central America who are now seeking asylum here in the US. Within days, members of the church responded with clothes, shoes, boots, suitcases, school supplies, a book bag, money and invitations for outings, lunches and dinner. Carolina has a serious illness and had run out of her medications. She was able to be seen by a Doctor at Elmhurst Hospital and got all three prescriptions filled the next day for less than $10! I was also so thankful for the Spanish speakers in our congregation. Since Carolina and Onandy knew very little English, having those who could communicate with them and accompany them on outings was essential.
Onandy's birthday was March 31. The River's Edge Homeschool Co-op which many ACC families are members of, invited him and Carolina to come join them on his actual birthday. One student member of the co-op was moved to give him a Spanish bible as a gift! Pastor David and Sobeyda had a birthday celebration at their community group meeting and Onandy received another gift. This will be a birthday he will never forgot! The warmth and love extended by ACC was beyond expectations!
David shared "We are full of gratitude to all those who reached out to help Carolina and Onandy during their stay here in Queens. They left early last Saturday morning to go stay with family in Maryland. I know they were deeply touched by all the acts of kindness shown to them by members of ACC. This was their first interaction of any significance with Christians. I am thrilled to think of how ACC represented Christ to them."
Please continue to remember them in your prayers as they settle into their new life in Maryland.
Matthew 25:35 was truly lived out by our Pastor, Sobeyda and our church family. "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you look after me."