God has sent people from all over the world into our neighborhoods and cities. Have we really noticed? Do we know where they’re from? Do we know their names? Here are some ideas to help you find and meet some new friends–because they matter to the God you love.
Discover the Unreached Near You
Peoplegroups.info will show you all immigrant groups and specific unreached people groups for a metro area you are interested in. You can discover which ethnic groups are Muslims, Buddhists, Hindu, etc. and a short description of each.
Go to peoplegroups.info and click on Metro Area List. Then choose your city and scroll down to see those who are waiting for us to share Jesus. Click on “status” to see just the unreached people groups.
Find refugees in your town
Refugee Processing Center has a lot of information to help you find refugees who have just arrived.
If you need help to use the interactive report read this: Select “Arrivals by Destination and Nationality.” Then select your state. Under nationalities, check “all.” Use the calendars to choose the oldest date and most recent date to find information for the last ten years or any amount of time you want to know for. Then click on the disk symbol and select PDF> It doesn’t really matter which you select on the other two areas. Be patient until you are used to using this and you can get very accurate, up-to-date information.
Search the internet under “Refugee Resettlement Agency”
Find and call the agencies that are working in your area. Ask them where refugees are coming from and what their needs are. Find out what volunteers can do.
Know the Unreached in Your Neighborhood
Use the Mapping Center to know where Afghanis, Bhutanese, or any other unreached people group are living right near you.
Another agency that provides a similar service is MissionInsite.com. Both of these services come at a cost but are very worthwhile.
Find International Students
Look up colleges, universities, and high schools. Ask to talk to the International Student Advisor to find out which countries the students come from. Tell them you may be interested in volunteering.
Prayerfully Watch for Internationals
Talk to people you meet in the grocery stores, donut shops, and apartment complexes who look like they may be from another country. Find a way to be friendly and learn about their backgrounds.
Pray for God to guide you to those He would like you to befriend. The story of Philip and the Ethiopian is an excellent reminder of how much God delights to connect seekers with believers (see Acts 8).
Enjoy Making New Friendships
It is so fun to make new friends with people of other cultures. They see things from different angles. They help us experience life in new ways. Getting to know them is like discovering a delicious food, exploring a newly opened mall, or finding an unexplored path where you see cardinals and tiger lilies for the first time.
Besides the fun of new friendships, many internationals have a different religion than ours. We learn fascinating things as we explore their values and our own more deeply. When we build international friendships, we will have the privilege of sharing with them the beauty of Jesus and the rich wealth of truth that is in the Bible.
But where do we start? How do we find and get acquainted with people of other cultures? They’re right around us. Pray for God’s guidance, try the conversations and activities below and you’ll build some wonderful new friendships, perhaps even for eternity.