To Reach Refugees, Trust the Holy Spirit

Amid the great needs in refugee communities there are also great opportunities. In 2001, a YWAMer from South Africa named Steve*, and his small team began to work toward sparking a disciples-making movement among Iranian refugees in the Netherlands. In one year, there were 30 new believers. The movement grew considerably, reproducing disciples and new fellowships. Within these fellowships large groups of Iranian believers received leadership training. After seven years, they numbered 500 baptized believers.

During this time, a young Iranian man named David approached Steve. David was filled with bitterness and resentment against everyone he knew. In their first conversation Steve shared the need for him to forgive everyone who had ever wronged him. David left. Steve wondered if he would ever see him again. But the Lord gave him a great revelation to trust the Holy Spirit because He is the one at work in the new believer.

They did meet a second time. The conversation covered the same issues of bitterness and the need to forgive. That’s when David asked if Steve could help him. Steve hesitated to answer “yes” to this question, knowing that David had lived as a refugee on the streets for over 9 years and may ask him about things Steve had never dealt with. So, Steve asked him what he wanted help with. He replied, “I want God in my life and I needed to know what to do.” Steve explained how easy it was to talk to God and tell Him what he needed from Him. David proceeded to pray, “God I forgive…” naming every one that was responsible for his hurts and resentments. It was quite a long list. He ended his prayer with, “and God please come into my life!”

Two days later David showed up at the House Church for the first time. Gathered there was a very diverse group of Iranians ranging from government defectors to criminals. When David suddenly asked Steve if he could share with the group, he was greatly concern as Steve had only known David for a week and only met with him twice. Again, the Holy Spirit directed Steve to trust Him and to allow David to share. He did. David proceeded to speak to the group. He told them if they wanted God to forgive them, they needed to forgive each person. He named the specific people he referred to with familiarity and great authority. He had already received God’s forgiveness after he forgave these people. David spoke directly to the hearts of all who heard him. With the little that he had learned, he wanted to pass on. “And I learned to trust The Holy Spirit,” explains Steve.

Steve goes on to say that trusting in the Holy Spirit in the lives of the believers enabled the emerging disciple-making movement to adopt these key practices:
1. “Keep things simple so they can easily apply it, copy it and teach it to others.”
2. “Show trust and confidence. Believe in them and affirm them in taking the lead.”
3. “Everyone can share, participate and help determine what needs to be done.”

Today more than 2,000 have been baptized and over 100 fellowships formed. Disciples and new fellowships are being birthed in Belgium, France, Germany and in the land of their birth. They trust the Holy Spirit for a supernatural increase in the harvest.

“…and each day the Lord added to their fellowship all those who were being saved.” Acts 2:47

*not his real name



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