One Welcome Kit at a Time

Karen2  Karen3 This is from a recent World Relief newsletter:

We have many volunteers who are changing the world in this way. One example is Five Oaks Community Church in Woodbury, who is transforming their world in St. Paul – one Welcome Kit at a time. It started with one volunteer who had a heart to befriend a new Karen refugee family. As she got to know the family she realized they had needs that she could help with. She organized a small group to gather Welcome Kit items like furniture, pots, and dishes. Over the next few years other small groups got excited about this ministry, became involved and many Karen families in the area were being helped. The leadership of the church invited the Karen community to share their story with the congregation. The Karen told of their struggles of being persecuted Christians who were oppressed in their home country, and of their lives in refugee camps and the women of the community cooked a meal to share with the congregation.

Today there are hundreds of Karen who have been touched by the congregation of Five Oaks. Their small groups have an incredible furniture ministry, run by lay leaders, which assist the majority of new Karen arrivals in the St. Paul area with needed furniture, household and kitchen items. Volunteers help set up new apartments for arriving refugee families and help with rent costs. A member of their church serves on the board of the Karen community organization.

Five Oaks church exemplifies a commitment to helping the poor who are among them. They continue to change the world for hundreds of Karen people living in St. Paul by giving to those in need. But this church has also been transformed through the friendships they have made within this community and the bigger picture they now have of what God is doing in the world. As Christians, we are called to transform the world by living out the Kingdom of God here and now. Can we change the world through little things?