Interacting with New Americans
They speak a different language. Their lifestyle has been shaped by a different culture, political system and often their religious faith.
Everything is new to them. They need a friend to help them settle into the community. Go to their home and welcome them. Extend a helping hand; offer to assist wherever needed.
Usually the initial contact is the most difficult step in introducing Jesus to immigrants living near you. It takes creativity, confidence and courage. The Lord has made that available to us. "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline" (2 Timothy 1:7).
Some things to keep in mind when interacting with your new American neighbors are:
- Approach them as fellow human beings made in the image of God.
- Be gentle, courteous and polite.
- Express the attitude of a learner, asking questions and listening, not defensive about anything they share.
- Relationship, not debate, is the goal.
- Value them above yourself.
- Men speak to men, women to women.
A good conversational flow will include:
- Greetings, introductions and a hearty welcome.
- Inquire about their journey to America and your community.
- Ask about family and look at each other’s pictures.
- Ask about their employment and education.
- Ask about what they do for fun, their leisure time.
- Invite them to share with you about their religious faith. Ask questions and let them teach you.
- Ask if they would like to hear about your spiritual pilgrimage. Share about how you were introduced to Jesus. Your story should include the basic truth and steps you took to accept Jesus as your personal Savior.
- The parable of the Lost Son in Luke 15:11–32 is a good sequel to your testimony.
The above conversation may occur in one visit—probably about two hours. On the other hand, it may be spread over several short visits in the neighborhood, school or on the job.
Trust the Holy Spirit to prompt you as to when to speak and what action to take. Remember, it is "'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord Almighty" (Zechariah 4:6).
"'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord Almighty" (Zechariah 4:6).
“Ask and it will be given to you” (Matthew 7:7)
New American neighbors will come to faith in Jesus Christ if we pray. Our best intentions and efforts are not enough in and of themselves. If we pray, God will work a miracle of salvation in the lives or our new friends. If we do not pray, the new American neighbors will remain in their sin and continue on the road that leads to an eternity in hell.
God to prepare the soil
The message of salvation shared with our neighbors is like seed sown in a field. Seed planted in good soil will bear good fruit. Jesus explained this dynamic in the "Parable of the Sower." Some people "like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop..." (Mark 4:20).
Pray that God will go before you and prepare the hearts of your new American neighbors to receive your presentation of the gospel.
God to anoint our efforts
Jesus makes it very clear that He must be involved in bringing our new American neighbors into the Kingdom of God. "If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).
Pray for the Lord to give a special anointing of the Holy Spirit upon your words and actions. Ask to experience what is described in Isaiah 4:5, "Over everything the glory will be a canopy."
Luke 1:35 records how the miracle of Jesus' conception occurred, "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you." Ask the Holy Spirit to rest upon every effort you make to reach your neighbors with the gospel.
God to confirm His Word
Our new American neighbors need to see that God is with us. They should recognize something different about our lives—the presence of Jesus. The Lord wants to reveal Himself through us. We are His messengers.
Introducing Jesus to your new American neighbor is a partnership effort—God and you. The reality of this truth is set forth in Mark 16:20, "Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it."
Great things happen when we pray
Reaching immigrants, introducing Jesus to your new American neighbors, will occur when we pray. Bathe in prayer your neighbors’ family and your relationship with them. Great things will happen! Believe God for the salvation of the entire family.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”