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Posts Tagged ‘Uzbekistan’

ESL teachers

ESL teachers

I can’t believe it has been three years since the Redemption church merger. Even though Redemption has never been a home church for me, I’ve been an off and on attendee since their early days. I love how God uses them to reach all areas of Arizona with the gospel with their multiple church plants. Tonight Pastor Riccardo shared many stories from the past three years of how God has been faithful and good to the church. I got to attend the service for a few reasons. Redemption likes to share God stories of how members of the congregation are being used in the community by God. Pastor Mullins interviewed my ESL director Stephanie on stage about how we are reaching the refugee community here locally in Tempe. Our students are mostly from Somalia and Redemption church oversees our teaching program. In fact, many of our volunteer teachers are members of Redemption.

Teaching ESL has been such a humbling and rewarding experience for me. My involvement came from when God called me to attend a Uzbekistan peace feast in November of 2011. Even though I had no idea why I was meant to go, God opened my eyes to the refugee community for the first time. Soon after I became an english teacher and now here I am two and half years later still teaching. Hearing the story of Redemption church tonight and my own personal story remind me of the Experiencing God study – Watch where God is working and join Him there. Trust me, do that and He will do the rest.

But my main reason I attended church tonight is because of the friend I brought. He was an old drinking buddy of mine from back in college. I haven’t seen him in 15 years, yet we are Facebook friends. He reach out to me earlier this week and mentioned life had become purposeless for him. He has been inspired by how I’ve been living my life and wanted to know what it is that kept me going these days. I laugh because I’m such a messy person, but I know it is Christ that He is seeing in me as the Spirit has really been working through my life these past couple years. He just moved to Tempe and I offered to introduce him to Redemption church because they are in the area. We had a great time catching up and I felt for him as I have been in that place of searching for significance many times in my life. I spent most of my night praying for him at church and was excited for him to hear the God-stories they were taking about from the stage. I pray that God grab a hold of him and that he becomes another God-story that will be shared to others someday.

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I attended a dinner at the Golden Valley Restaurant in Phoenix hosted by Redemption church. This restaurant is owned and ran by Uzbekistan refugees from the Andijan Massacre of 2005. They bring the full flavors and traditions of Uzbekistan’s national dishes from family kitchens back home. In addition to eating some great food, we got to hear the stories from a couple of refugees on how they got to America. Now some of them reside here in Phoenix and have built a strong community and have started businesses to help stimulate the economy.

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I got to eat with a refugee by the name of Abdurashid. He escaped Uzbekistan in 2006 and left behind a wife and son. Now he is here in Arizona working and trying to bring his family that he hasn’t seen in so long here. He spent the evening sharing stories and pictures with me about life in Uzbekistan and how he got here. He is blessed to have strong community to bond with while here. His story touched my life and definitely put in perspective my own personal struggles in life. We ate Pilov (rice with meat and vegetables), Manti (steamed dumplings with ground beef) and chicken kabobs.

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There is an amazing website dedicated to the story of these refugees called Uzbek Justice Initiative and how you can get involved. Read about how God is using them here locally. Below is a video about the Andijan Massacre from the film Through the Looking Glass.

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