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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Iowa Church Transformed and Revived by Outreach to Refugees

  • Veronica Neffinger
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2017 Jan 06
  • Comments

An Iowa church has been transformed and revitalized after they heeded God’s call to reach out to refugees within their community.

CBN News reports that if you visit Zion Lutheran in Des Moines today, you will see a diverse congregation that is excited about worshipping God. There is food and fellowship and an uplifting community of believers.

But that wasn’t always the case. Seven years ago, the 150-year-old church was struggling. They were convicted that they weren’t making a true impact on their community, so they decided a major change was needed.

Pastor John Kline says they were inspired by a passage of Scripture in Luke 14.

"In Luke 14 we learned that he wanted us to be a place that would bless people who couldn't bless us back," said Kline.

So they began reaching out to refugee families who lived nearby in a low-income apartment complex. They brought food to the families and asked them about their needs. 

"We didn't plan anything, we just walked down the street, and everything unfolded because of faithfulness to God," said Grace Kline, Pastor John's wife.

That action of stepping out in faith was the beginning of Zion Lutheran’s transformation. Soon, refugees from many different countries began coming to the church. A community of believers with different cultural backgrounds and different languages was forming.

The church had a large population of Burmese people, so they even brought over a pastor who spoke Burmese to be a part of the church.

Now, Zion Lutheran holds services in Burmese, Arabic, and Swahili. It also offers a diverse youth program.

"It's a place where if you're thirsty, you'll get something to drink, if you're hungry, you'll get fed, if you don't have a place you'll find a place, and if you don't have a family, you'll join ours," said Pastor John.

 

Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com

Publication date: January 6, 2017