What Do Good Neighbor Teams Do?
Written by Joy Mikhail
Whether you are new to Waypoint, or you’ve been here for some time, you have probably heard us talking about ministry to our refugee neighbors here in the Triangle. Although there are many ways to get involved, good neighbor teams are a unique way to form relationships with families and come alongside them as they are adjusting to life in America.
Currently, we have one good neighbor team made up of 8 people. I recently asked them about their experience being on a good neighbor team and how we can pray for them. Here is what they had to say:
“In this day and age there are so many ways you can choose to spend your time and oftentimes it feels like your attention is being pulled in so many different directions. One thing that is really life-giving to me about being on a good neighbor team is that this is one thing on my calendar that I know is a good choice. It makes prioritization easy. In our case, there’s a family with 5 young kids who have suddenly had to start all over in a new country that has a radically different culture from their own. They’ve had to flee because they were serving in special forces with our country to try to make their own a more safe, secure and humane place. It's such an honor to come alongside a family like this during what can otherwise be such a disorienting and lonely time. Of course, the other thing that makes serving so fulfilling is that even though this family has in many ways demonstrated Christ’s character in the honorable way that they've lived, they haven’t really had someone show the love of Christ in the name of Christ to them before and it is such an incredible privilege to step into that role with a good neighbor of friends from Waypoint.”-J. Punt
“One of the things I have loved about being part of Good Neighbor Teams is learning about different cultures. For example, hospitality is a huge part of Middle Eastern Culture. The way I am welcomed into homes is beautiful and inspiring. When I remember that this is the culture where much of the Bible takes place, those stories come even more alive. I have also learned that sometimes I want to be a savior and that is not my role. World Relief Durham and Joy Mikhail, Waypoint’s Director of Local Missions, do a great job of training teams and reminding us that it is better to help and empower refugees so that they can stand on their own. Sometimes it seems easier and quicker to do things for them, but I have learned that that takes away from their dignity and doesn’t help them in the long run. We have been part of two GNT’s now and we have learned the needs of each family can be different. The relationships formed can look different. It has been a good opportunity to practice listening and taking the time to know people as individuals instead of assuming we know what they need.”-Bethany and Stephen Clark
“Overall, it's been a blessing to watch God provide for this family in so many ways in such a short time. God's provided them with a job, a community that speaks their language, a great school, and even a car! It's been special to see how far they've come in less than a year and how quickly they've been able to put down roots here. Also, playing with their 5 kids has been THE BEST! Just because they do not speak English very well, does not mean that you can't have a fiercely competitive game of uno or hide and seek with the whole crew! Finally, they have ended up showing us a lot of hospitality which was something we didn't anticipate. They've made us awesome food (their bread has to be some of the best in the world), and it's been really cool to form a genuine friendship with a family that has such a different set of memories, experiences, and way of looking at the world.”- Amelia Punt
Please consider coming out to the World Relief Orientation Training on Saturday, October 8. (Attending does not commit you to serve on a team.) If you have any questions, please reach out (Joy@waypointrdu.com)
Lastly, we can all be a part through prayer!
· Please pray for the families being relocated. Pray for their mental and emotional needs to be met after experiencing the trauma of leaving home and family. Pray for their physical needs to be me through good steady jobs, learning English, and finding friendships and community. Pray for the kids to adjust well in school.
· Pray for more GNTs to be formed to walk alongside the families that are being resettled in the Triangle.
· Please pray for our team to have wisdom in knowing the best ways to support the family. Pray for times to connect with them and get to know them better.
· Pray that we will be filled with the Holy Spirit and walk in step with the Spirit as we love and serve this family.
· Pray that the family will see Jesus in and through us and know the hope and love that he offers.