Contact Us in the UK
- Phone: 01302 811319
- Mailing Address: 24 Elmfield Road, Hyde Park, Doncaster, South Yorkshire DN1 2BA
Contact Us in the US
- Phone: 202.468.4571
- Mailing Address: PO Box 5188 Wheaton, IL 60189-5188
Herndon, Virginia is a tense place. Twenty years ago it was a fairly
quiet far suburb of Washington DC. Now, to hear some people say it,
it is over-run with illegal immigrants. Every morning the parking lot
of McDonald's and the adjacent convenience store are flooded with men
looking for a day's work. If you walk down the main street, three out
of four people on the sidewalk will be Spanish speakers.
A few years back the town built a facility where day-laborers could
gather safely to wait for work. In the ensuing elections the mayor
and all of the city council members who had voted for the facility
were thrown out of office. Rhetoric and tensions have run high.
Crime rates have increased.
All of which is great for the gospel. The worse the surrounding
culture is, the more obvious the differences between the church and
the world become! Our congregation, which is English speaking, has
been given a wonderful opportunity to show counter-cultural love to
Spanish speakers through hospitality, mercy ministry, and church
planting. We share our home with a Christian couple from El Salvador
and some families in our church make a point of inviting Spanish-
speakers into their homes for meals (usually with another bi-lingual
family to serve as a translator).
And the immigrants in Herndon notice the difference. One man leaving
our house after dinner said with tears in his eyes that this had been
the first time he had ever been in an American's home except to paint
it. More than once I have been asked (through a translator, I don't
speak Spanish!) why we are trying to help them. The answer is
simple: God has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us a
ministry of reconciliation (II Corinthians 5:18). Since God has
pursued us in Christ, we are now ambassadors of God's love to those
who are different from us.
What an awesome privilege!
Mike McKinley is pastor of Guilford Baptist Church in Sterling, VA and a trustee of Radstock.