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A Kairos Story: Serving Afghan Refugees In Toronto

Edwin Law /Wednesday, August 2, 2023

 

It was the windiest day in December 2021, with wind gusts exceeding 30 km/h and a temperature of 10 degrees Celsius below zero. I teamed up with a local missionary for the first time, going door-to-door across from a mall in Richmond Hill, Ontario. The very first door was opened by a woman from Afghanistan. God reminded me that I don't need to travel to the other side of the world to connect with the Afghan people.

It all began a few months ago when I engaged in conversations with a few brothers following our annual missions conference at our Chinese church. Our guest missionary had just discussed an incredible prospect of establishing a ministry in Afghanistan for Chinese workers, as the country anticipated an influx of these individuals for reconstruction projects. In my discussions, I mentioned to my friends how thrilling it would be to embark on a short-term mission to Afghanistan. Deep down in my heart, I was quite convinced that it would not occur and that I would be quite safe. Little did I know, God had planned for me to connect with the Afghan people. 

Within a month following the annual missions conference, I found myself being guided by God to encounter a missionary couple from the United States. I couldn't help but wonder why they were in Toronto instead of some remote jungle in an exotic third-world nation. It soon became clear that their purposeful choice was to rent an apartment in Thorncliff—a suburb with a significant population of Muslims—allowing them to actively connect with the local community on a daily basis. Indeed, Toronto has emerged as one of the most promising destinations for missionary workers.

In February, the local missionary and I revisited the same family in Richmond Hill. Despite the bone-chilling -17 degrees Celsius temperature, we persevered. This time, it was the sister of the woman we had previously encountered who greeted us at the door. With my feet nearly frozen, I listened to the missionary as he patiently shared the 3-Circles gospel tool with her. To my astonishment, the Afghan woman eventually joined the missionary in a prayer to accept Christ.

In the wake of the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, Canada made substantial commitments to embrace a significant number of Afghan refugees, with a considerable portion of them destined for Toronto. I must admit that when the news initially broke in the fall of 2021, I didn't feel particularly compelled. I doubted my ability to provide practical help, let alone share the gospel with these individuals. Yet, my encounters with this Afghan family during door-to-door visits completely transformed my perspective. God opened my eyes. He showed me that it is indeed possible.

Throughout the spring of 2022, I dedicated myself to finding ways to connect with the Afghan refugees in Toronto. I visited the sole Afghan church in the city, where the pastor informed me that as these refugees transitioned from their initial hotel accommodations, they would be dispersed throughout the city and perhaps even the province. It would not be easy to find them. The door appeared to be closed. I had tried, I thought.

Then, in May 2022, a fellow brother sent me a flyer through WhatsApp. A Chinese Christian missions organization was collaborating with the Afghan Church in organizing a local short-term mission to the Afghan community during the summer. God seemed to have answered my prayer. He opened the door for me. 

We organized two picnics throughout the summer, where the Afghan Church invited several Afghan refugee families to join us. Approximately 20 believers from various Chinese churches enthusiastically participated in these gatherings. By the end, we successfully established ongoing connections with two Afghan families, as well as a few individual Afghan refugees who were already believers. In the subsequent months, we dedicated ourselves to providing support and assistance in their resettlement process. At the same time, we focused on cultivating genuine relationships and seized every opportunity to share the gospel with them.

Just a month ago, God delighted us with an unexpected gift. The father of one of the families we have been ministering to expressed his desire to join our church service. After the service, he told me that it had been a remarkable experience for him. In response, I told him that his presence had likewise been a delightful experience for me.

As I reflect on this short journey over the past year, I am filled with gratitude and awe for how God has orchestrated my encounters and opened doors beyond my expectations. God has reminded me of His heart for the nations, and I eagerly anticipate the continued growth of these relationships and the unfolding of God's plans for the Afghan refugees in Toronto.


Edwin came to Christ in 1998 and has been a member of Carmel Logos Baptist Church in Toronto ever since. His interest in missions work began just before the pandemic hit, and in 2022, he joined the church's missions team. Currently, Edwin is actively involved in mobilizing the church for local missions initiatives and serves as a facilitator in the Kairos course.



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