Diaspora ministry in Lancaster, PA

Tags: Diaspora Ministry, North America (Immigrants & Refugees)

Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is a city rapidly morphing into a diverse community of people from different cultures and traditions. From Cubans and other Latinos in the south of the city center, to Congolese scattered in the city limits, to South Asian Bhutanese, Nepali, and Indian residents now in many suburban communities, Lancaster receives many arriving new residents who come as refugees, asylum seekers, and other immigrants.  

From its earliest days, Lancaster has been a city and region that welcomes people starting a new life, and this tradition continues today! In fact, the BBC designated Lancaster as the “refugee capital” of the US based on number of residents and the large number of refugees resettled in Lancaster in recent years—as high as 20 times the national average! In 2019, Lancaster was recognized as a “Certified Welcoming” city, the fifth US city to receive that honor from the National Welcoming America Initiative. 

Each of the immigrant communities bring unique contributions to Lancaster’s streets, markets, and cityscape. From samosas and spicy potato cakes to falafel, hummus, spiced lentils, and even “Havana juice” there are plenty of culinary options. These new residents also bring unique customs and beliefs. Many of these immigrants come from areas of the world where there is little access to the gospel, and where most belong to what are considered by missiologists as unreached or least reached people groups.

SEND International is committed to reaching unreached people groups throughout North America with the gospel and seeing culturally appropriate churches develop that can minister to these communities both here and abroad.  

The Lancaster team and network is engaging with several different unreached people groups in the region, supporting and coaching churches to reach the immigrants around them.  Currently, the team is working with families from several Asian people groups, with a specific focus on Arabic-speaking peoples from Islamic backgrounds. The team is building relationships through sports programs, shared meals, one-on-one English tutoring, and meeting people’s practical needs. Through these relationships, our team is sharing biblical truth and praying that God would bless them with the fullness of life that only he can offer.

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