Just Listen: 3 Ways to Connect Your Family to People Groups

We fell in love with South Asians. Maybe it was the warm milk tea, the curried food, the bells and loud music, or the welcoming smiles (OK, sometimes stares), but South Asians stole our hearts. Since moving to a rural area of Alabama, we wanted to look for ways our family could meet South Asians in our area. At first, we were told there weren’t many South Asians in this area. As we began to seek internationals in our area, we found that many families from South Asia reside in our town, and we wanted to get to know them.

A dinner, an English class, a Thanksgiving celebration—whatever could be used as a way to build relationships—we wanted to connect. We had a successful first get-together. Then for a couple months afterward, we tried to establish something else. And for months, this “something else” never quite worked out. The relationships were there just not the events.

What were we doing wrong? We weren’t listening—to God, to the people we were trying to reach, or to our family’s missional gifts.

The following are a few ways we’ve learned to connect to a people group through listening:

1. Listen to the Lord (a.k.a. pray). Begin with prayer for your people group. Pray for that people group around the world and the countries they live in. Pray for the people from that people group in your neighborhood and community. Ask the Lord to reveal to you ways to reach these people and connect to them naturally.

2. Listen to your people group. Whoever you are trying to connect with will let you know rather quickly if they like how you are trying to get to know them. Find natural ways to meet internationals (go to festivals, teach or tutor for an ESL program, teach a class, host a holiday dinner, etc.). Celebrate their culture with them; ask them to celebrate yours with you. Build a friendship and you will earn the opportunity to speak truth with love.

3. Listen to your family. Are your children introverted or extroverted? Do they enjoy going to the park or to the library? Could they help serve people at a food bank or play an instrument or dance at an international festival? Find what your family is interested in and what gifts and abilities lie within your family. Use what God has given you to reach those around you.

The Lord desires to use your family to reach those who have never heard the gospel. Just listen.

Bekah Rivers* is a momma to a darling little girl (and a sweet pup), wife to a pastor, and advocate for all believers to be on mission.

*Name changed.

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