A simple Invitation: “Would you like to come to a Christmas Party?” Such an ordinary thing. Most of us take such an invitation for granted and even receive more than we can accommodate during the holidays. And yet a simple invitation can also be a wonderful gift and a mighty tool in the hands of God.
Frontline Community Church in Ramstein, Germany, issued just such invitations this past Christmas. In the fall, several members of Frontline began teaching a beginning German class to immigrants and refugees at a local center. As Christmas approached, God planted in their hearts the idea of inviting all the refugees and immigrants who attend the German classes to come to a Christmas Party and to bring their families. We also gathered names and ages of all the children in these families so our congregation could provide them with their first Christmas gifts ever.
Under the guidance of Chris Carson and the Missions Team, the party planners from the church came out of the woodwork and provided snacks, crafts, games, and gift bags for all the prospective guests. Each gift bag also had a copy of The Invitation, a simple tract in German from SGM Lifewords . Though invitations went out weeks ahead of the party, on the big day we had no idea how many, or if any, would come. Would we have 2, 20, or 50 guests? So we prayed for God to use our simple invitations and to breathe His life into our efforts.
God took our humble offering of “loaves and fishes” and turned it into something wonderful for His glory! We had approximately 50 guests attend — ages 2-60 and 90% of them were Muslims. Children made crafts, played games, and sang songs. Near the end of the party, everyone received a gift bag of items their new church friends had provided. But the most stunning thing to witness was the love of God that was poured out to people from different continents, ethnic groups, and religions. Their smiles and ours revealed how much everyone enjoyed the party and the new friendships. For that single hour these refugees experienced a taste of the joy that Jesus brings to the world and the peace He provides. Our hearts were filled with joy at seeing so many displaced children and students and moms and dads showered with God’s love.
This happy event has become the seed of an ongoing ministry to refugees at Frontline Church, and we are excited to see where God will take it. And it all began with a simple invitation.
Gary & Suzanne Preston