Mosaic’s Refugee Life Ministries team welcoming a Karen family at the airport.

When Mosaic Christian Community launched six years ago, we opened our doors as strangers. We were a new church in a neighborhood that had always seen a church building located there but had not seen its people for many years. We knew that we did not know our neighbors and they did not know us. It was our mission to change that.

Our mission at Mosaic is “to mobilize and equip the community of Christ into a lifestyle of hospitality.” God has placed a desire in our hearts to engage strangers, invite them to be guests and equip them to be hosts. This process has both guided our ministry, evangelism and discipleship, and it has been a journey of rediscovering and reconnecting with our incredible East St. Paul neighborhood.

Having a Refugee Life Ministries team was something we wanted to do from the beginning. We set out to establish one in the early days of our ministry but things didn’t go as we expected, because were still strangers to our neighborhood.

We realized we didn’t need to come alongside one new refugee family; we needed to join with the dozens of new refugee families right in our backyard.
This was not a set back but a pause. We realized we didn’t need to come alongside one new refugee family; we needed to join with the dozens of new refugee families right in our backyard — an incredibly diverse and multi-cultural neighborhood. We all needed to move from ‘strangers’ to ‘guests.’

Mosaic hosted block parties, movie nights, community events and refugee gardens with the goal of creating safe, hospitable places for strangers to become guests, to welcome them into a place some thought was abandoned. In time we found ourselves guests in homes for birthday parties, weddings, funerals and all sorts of occasions. We were no longer strangers to our neighbors, now we were guests.

We formed our first Refugee Life Ministries team, which reflects our neighborhood, including first- and second-generation immigrants who had been helped by others when their families arrived in the United States.
Then this last summer the process surged ahead. Our community began to ask, who we could help and how can we serve beyond our community? Guests were becoming hosts! We formed our first Refugee Life Ministries team, which reflects our neighborhood, including first- and second-generation immigrants who had been helped by others when their families arrived in the United States.

Within weeks, we were gathering at the airport to welcome a beautiful Karen family. There was so much excitement, energy and momentum as we met the family at the airport. It was a whirlwind of appointments and meetings, but adventure wasn’t done. A few weeks after welcoming a family through Arrive, another resettlement agency asked Mosaic to help welcome a family. Our team agreed and tackled the challenge of helping two families resettle. Arrive came alongside us and helped us find beds for this second family even though they were coming to Mosaic through a different organization.

Mosaic has been abundantly blessed by the adventure of welcoming the stranger. We are so thankful for partnerships with resettlement agencies like Arrive. Thank you, Arrive, for all your work to extend the hospitality of Christ to our refugee friends.

Written by Pastor Jeff O’Rourke
Lead Pastor, Mosaic Christian Community
St. Paul, Minnesota