The Challenges of Resettlement
December 2023

By a member of SEND’s Diaspora | North America team

"Do I have to wear a hijab to school?" Inaya*, a 15-year-old, had just moved to the U.S. from the Middle East. A new culture, new language, and new school. Would wearing a Muslim head scarf make it hard for her to fit in?

Many refugee families like Inaya's cling tightly to their faith. It's one of the few parts of their identity left. But for Inaya and her family–two parents and six kids–God was already at work. 

When Inaya's family arrived in the U.S., they were welcomed by Amir, a man who had once emigrated from their area of the world. Amir was a Christian and part of a SEND team seeking to show the tangible, powerful love of God among immigrants and refugees. As Amir talked with Inaya's dad, Nasir, he saw that God was already preparing him.

Nasir had grown disillusioned with Islam, but in his homeland, questioning was dangerous. "For six years, I have been on a journey," Nasir said. Now, that journey had brought him into contact with SEND workers who were welcoming, open, and cross-culturally trained to engage Muslims in spiritual conversations.

Amir invited Nasir to a church plant of fellow immigrants that partners with SEND International. There, Nasir and his son heard the gospel in Arabic and met Muslim-background believers from all over the world. He saw two teenagers get baptized and asked about it. Amir explained that they were demonstrating their faith in Jesus. Before Nasir left that day, he said, "I want to do that."

Nasir and his family continue attending church services and events. Nasir is reading an Arabic Bible on his phone every day. His son has also expressed interest in the gospel.

Resettlement isn't easy. Nasir's family lived in a hotel until an apartment became available. Their current home lacks a fridge. Inaya and her siblings walk two miles to school because there is not enough room on the buses. And they are deeply immersed in learning English. The challenge is to help them see God in the midst of it all.


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