BLOG: Welcoming the stranger

This article is part of our series, ‘Reaching Muslims Locally’, where we explore how you can get involved in mission to Muslims where you are.

By Patrick*, a cross-cultural worker in Ireland

When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not ill-treat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:33-34 (NIV)

Arriving a stranger

If you’ve ever landed alone at an overseas airport at night, with no one to welcome you, people speaking a foreign language, and with no plan for where you are staying for the next few days, you begin to feel a little out of your comfort zone. So, imagine what it’s like for someone fleeing war or conflict arriving in a strange land. They’re frightened and alone, their money and possessions almost gone, and they can’t understand the local language; hope is fading fast. This is the plight of many in our world today.

For the past 15 years, I have been privileged to be involved in ministry here in Ireland among asylum seekers and refugees; people who have fled persecution, conflict, famine, and violence. Real people with real needs.

To love the one in need

We are called to love the one in need. In this case the asylum seeker, the refugee in our midst.

You may be asking yourself the questions, ‘Where do I start? How can I get to know people in need that have sought asylum where I live? What can I do to help others?’

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Matthew 25:35-36 (NIV)

One simple way to connect is through ministries that are already established and working with refugees. For example, you could volunteer at a food bank, English class, after school homework club, or through sports ministry. Or you may already know people from the refugee community but have not yet connected with them. Why not just say hello, how are you, and begin a simple conversation? Building a friendship is where to start. These are real people, often lonely and isolated and would love to meet with others and receive some help.

Show the love of Christ

One lady I know built a relationship with a Muslim family seeking asylum, showed the love of Christ through practical means, invited them to church, and gave the husband a Bible. He began to read the Bible and came to faith in Christ. His wife and children in time also came to put their trust in Christ. All because one lady showed love to people struggling in life.

We can help connect you with ministries already working with refugees in the UK and Ireland. We can also help with training and equipping people for ministry to Muslims. Please email Ben on for more information. 

For some answers to questions frequently asked by Muslims, read our Hicham series here.

*Name changed to protect identities.

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