Building Hope in the City
Building Hope in the City seeks to strengthen urban ministry from Cleveland to Akron and beyond by helping to advance the Kingdom of Jesus, who is moving through His Word and Spirit to reclaim Cleveland – a city known for its diversity. One way that BHITC does this is to welcome the population of refugees and immigrants that come to Cleveland each year - 1,000 people - anxious, lost, and confused, often without English language skills needing all manner of help. Evidently, this is a way God is bringing the nations to our area for His purposes: to hear the true Gospel! Building Hope in the City acts upon God’s call to welcome these people, by assisting in their resettlement and by making others aware of the many assets refugees and immigrants bring to our community. In 2015, IHS funds helped establish The Hope Center for Immigrants and Refugees. In just three years, the Center has witnessed a 700% increase in daily visits. Some of the refugees were persecuted Christians, but the majority are not believers. The Center’s intention is to serve their needs as they introduce them to Christian volunteers, who work to share the Gospel with them over time. SOYL is a new program launched in January, as a discipleship and life training ministry for young adult, male refugees. It is a 15-week program to help the men navigate culture, education and make long-term plans for life. They study the Sermon on the Mount and then learn leadership skills. Each young man is paired with a mentor who has been trained to share his faith and offer support. SOYL will be offered three times a year, teaching 25-30 young men discipleship and life skills in America. Another program IHS funds helped with is the Women’s Conversation Clubs. Small group conversation begins after English classes, and they often talk about faith traditions and celebrations. That topic gives the volunteers an opportunity to share their faith. The Gospel is presented every time twice a week to 15-20 women, who are non-believers. The third program IHS helps fund is the Fellowship and Prayer Nights for refugees. The idea grew out of the increasing openness among non-Christian refugees to receive prayer for their struggles and concerns in Jesus’ name. The nights will invite all refugees to the Center for a time of public prayer. This year one result of BHITC’s evangelical efforts is that two refugees that have been attending their programs and ministries for more than three years have become Christians. One was a Muslim, and the other was Buddhist. Even though time is needed to break down barriers and build trust, there is much cause for celebration in Heaven because of these two souls! BHITC is mobilizing a successful refugee program, as they strive toward their goal of watching Christ reclaim Cleveland – a city of diversity and now a home to each of these refugees. God has brought them here to learn a new life and become people who can have the freedom to contribute to this newly awakened community in Jesus’ name! “You are the new family your God, Jesus gave me. I praise Him!” - a Saudi woman.
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