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The Unwritten Word of God

By Lydia Gingerich, RMM staff writer

As covenant workers with RMM in North America, Butros and Amina* are making disciples and building relationships among an unreached people group who do not yet have the Bible in their language. Their family is recording Bible stories, sharing the Word of God, and beginning home Bible study fellowships with these east African refugees who live in their city. They are also visiting and connecting with approximately thirty other communities across the United States where this people group are located.

“God began laying a passion on my heart to share the unwritten Word of God, the Word incarnate – Jesus Christ with these people.” Amina reflected back to over a decade ago when she initially came in contact with this people group from an east African nation. This group faced heavy oppression in their native country and many refugees have found their way into the United States. Amina’s passion for these people grew as she found that most of them do not communicate through writing or through pictures – only through speech. Amina, Butros, and their three children have been trying to live out that passion by reaching out to these people, by becoming a part of their community, and by helping them in the everyday struggles that arise.

“Just like all of humanity, they need to be loved, encouraged, and coached to know how to achieve their life goals.”“Just like all of humanity, [this east African people group] needs to be loved, encouraged, and coached to know how to achieve their life goals.” For example, Amina is assisting one young mother to become a nurse one day. She knows that “her first steps right now are to study English, get her driver’s license, finish her GED [General Equivalency Diploma], and then do STNA [State-tested Nursing Assistant] training. There are many more like her that want to succeed, but they don’t have the love, support, or [an] advocate to [show] them their next steps.”

Within the community that Amina, Butros, and their family relate to, there are a lot of single moms – some having more than eight children. In order to support their families and because most of the mothers are illiterate, they have to work long hours at minimum wage jobs. As a result the children lack the proper parental support, and often turn to gangs, drugs, and sex to fill the void. Butros and Amina come alongside these families by offering assistance with filling out paperwork, resolving legal issues, applying for jobs, arranging housing, driving lessons, life coaching, counsel, and support.

Being a part of this community also means that Amina, Butros, and their children have become like family to these people. They have to be available for people just like a parent, child, or grandparent would be – celebrating birthdays, taking library trips, and going to the park. Along with meeting their physical needs, Butros and Amina share biblical values with their friends. “We pray for them and bring them the good news of salvation, stories of the prophets, and Jesus’ teachings on forgiveness, peace, and love.”

So far the books of Ruth, Jonah, Luke, Philemon, 1 and 2 Peter; 1, 2, and 3 John; and Jude have been translated into their language along with the Jesus video. A team in East Africa is currently working on translating more of the Bible. Amina and Butros know that working on Bible translation and literacy is important, but their day-to-day ministry is so much more than that. They often get calls from those who have sick children, need a ride to the store, help with homework, or who just want to talk. “[We] do a lot of visiting, just to remind friends of God’s love for them and that he provided a way for them to him.” Through these visits, prayers, and friendships, they have seen God work mightily. One day they prayed for the local chief of this group. “He was very sick and almost dying, and we prayed to the Lord God intentionally, in the name of Jesus the Messiah, before his wife and children, for healing. God did a wonderful miracle for him. He was healed and is now healthy. Another day we prayed intentionally for a man who had lost his passport and all his legal papers. When we visited his family two weeks later, the man told us that God answered our prayers and that a police officer came to their house to give him all his documents.”

God is expressing his love to these people in miraculous ways, but many challenges remain. Butros and Amina find that their time is very limited. “The needs of the families are so great and it takes a lot of time to nurture them… And at the same time we need to work a part-time job to cover our needs as a family.” They pray that even in their weakness and fatigue, God will work through them.

Amina and Butros are encouraged to keep going because they see how people in this community are experiencing God’s power and love. “There is always someone who is open to hearing, or reading the Bible with us, and who wants us to pray for them. So, as long as there are open doors, we will keep on sharing God's Word with them.”

Pray that the Lord would continue to bless this ministry, and that he would provide volunteers to help with the needs of this community. Pray that Butros and Amina would continue to encounter those who are open to God’s love.

*names changed for security