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More than shelter

January 13, 2023

Wedding guests included current and former Jonathan House residents

A Wedding in Wisconsin

Aasir* taught himself coding while he was an asylum seeker living at IAFR's Jonathan House in the Twin Cities. After receiving asylum, he quickly landed a well-paying job in a large East Coast tech company. This fall, he traveled back to the Midwest to be present at the wedding of an IAFR missionary serving at Jonathan House.

Sarah Miller was there, too. She was delighted to reconnect with Aasir and hear how well he was doing in his new life. Looking around at the diverse wedding guests, she rejoiced at the palpable sense of community among Jonathan House staff, residents, and former residents.

Shelter and Transformative Community

As the person who had first carried the vision for starting the shelter program for asylum seekers, Sarah had never dreamed it would impact so many lives in just five short years. And it wasn't just staff and residents that played a part in this transformative community. Churches, volunteers, and financial partners continued to come on board each year, expanding Jonathan House's resources and empowering the community to thrive with their generosity and service.

God does more than we can imagine.

Turning to a fellow worker at the reception dinner, Sarah confided,

"I don't think at the beginning that I grasped the depth of the impact that would come in people's hearts and lives through Jonathan House. Seeing the evidence today as we gather to celebrate is amazing. God gives a vision, and we have ideas of how that vision might look, but His plan for impact often goes far beyond what we can imagine."

Asylum seekers took the lead when the dancing began.

Just then, SJ, the bride announced they would start the dancing for the evening with the song "Jerusalema." As the bittersweet music played, Jonathan House Residents led with the dance moves they'd practiced for the occasion. They invited the wedding party to join in as the words to the popular song crooned about a kingdom coming in the New Jerusalem and the displacement and journey longings of an earthly exile.

A glimpse of the kingdom of God

Sarah smiled as she listened, watching the kaleidoscope of people in motion. Among the many nationalities represented were Nigeria, Ethiopia, Cuba, El Salvador, South Sudan, and more.

Wasn't this the Kingdom of heaven coming within and among them? The scene reminded her of how Christ entered the world as a human being and, giving Himself, invited all people into belonging and hope.

Changing the world one relationship at a time.

In opening their arms "as Christ" to their neighbor, Jonathan House missionaries and volunteers found that their refugee friends taught them what it meant to celebrate the richness of a diverse community and the power of longing with hope.

As the local body of Christ walks alongside of asylum seekers in the Jonathan House ministry, they are witnessing how love is changing the world one relationship at a time.

*Aasir is a pseudonym.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Jonathan House ministry in Minneapolis/St. Paul!


Photo by Kelly K. Used with permission.

- Sarah Miller with Rachael Lofgren

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