Editor's note: The following update, from John and Mariam Gayad, POBLO (People of the Book Lutheran Outreach) missionaries in Rochester, Minnesota, depicts what can happen when Minnesota South District pastors and congregations partner together with missionaries and mission agencies in order to spread the Gospel among new people groups. Praise God for John, Mariam, and the Rochester Circuit pastors and people who volunteer with POBLO in Rochester so that the Gospel is both seen heard by those who have never seen it or heard it before!
In his most recent report on his ministry/missionary actives, John Gayad writes:
This year had already been full of opportunities; through our ministries, home visits, and holiday celebrations we have been able to make valuable connections with the immigrant population of Rochester, Minn.
In middle of November, I received a phone call from Redeemer Lutheran Church in Rochester; they told me that they were thinking about preparing Christmas gifts for us to give to the immigrants. Not only was it a terrific idea, but I told them that it would be great if the church members and their kids could go with us to visit the families. They agreed with this suggestion, and we set the dates for the deliveries: December 30th and 31st. We choose these days because the New Year is a more reasonable occasion to the Muslims for us to visit. We used the date and the gifts as our reason to visit their homes.
On those two days we were able to visit thirteen families. Sometimes we sat and talked to them, and sometimes they offered something for us to eat or drink. Pastor Adam, a family from the church with their kids, another church member, Mariam and I made these visits. We visited families from Iraq, China, Somalia, Qatar and Palestine. While we were visiting with one Palestinian family Mariam was able to share a testimony about the power of Jesus. The story was a personal testimony of a time when her mother had experienced Jesus’ miraculous presence and healing.
One day I ran into Morgan (name changed), who has become a good friend of mine. He was feeling very down and sad because he lost his only son a year ago. His son was 31 years old and died because of a drug overdose. I explained to him that God understands his sorrow, and He sees his tears. I used the situation to tell him that God gave His only son because of our sins so that we could have a better life. I was able to explain about the crucifixion, the reason why God became a human being, and why he had to die on the cross. Surprisingly, Morgan listened to what I had to say and didn’t try to stop me. He was looking for answers and comfort, and he wasn’t finding them in the Qur’an. I was able to tell him about the hope we have in Christ, and I pray that the Holy Spirit will use those words to work a miracle in Morgan’s life.
Our ministries as the Ethnic Friendship Center are also growing. As the opportunities present themselves, we are able to offer more classes and meet more needs. In December, we started classes for immigrant women who want to learn sewing skills. Five women from Iraq, India, and Qatar have been gathering to learn basic sewing techniques and how to use a sewing machine. They have progressed from simple tasks to being able to work on their own projects with guidance and help from the teachers. The classes provide an opportunity for them to pick up a hobby that they enjoy while gaining a sense of community by spending time with other women.
By the grace of God, in January we started a math class at Redeemer Lutheran Church which meets every Saturday. We currently have four students, three Somalian kids and one adult from Liberia."