Jesus boldly stated that “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). Only through Jesus can we reach heaven and spend eternity with God. As Christians, we have God’s calling to walk together and invite others to join us on the way to paradise. The challenge, at times, is gathering a crowd to hear the Good News we have in Jesus. For Reformation Lutheran Church and School in San Diego, Calif., the hosting of traditional American holiday get-togethers has helped gather a crowd. The target audience for some of these gatherings has been Reformation’s neighbors who have come to the U.S. from other countries. The church and school have discovered that there is a strong interest in the local immigrant community to participate in American customs and holidays. Some of the Asian families living near Reformation saw the stores advertising for the Thanksgiving holiday and wondered what it would be like to participate in such a festival. When these families received Reformation’s invitation to a Thanksgiving meal, many were eager to join the gathering.
Mark Jiang is a Chinese man who connected with Reformation at a Thanksgiving celebration several years ago and reflected on the significance of such gatherings: “It’s so important for our church to host a Thanksgiving dinner. We have many Asian family in San Diego: some of these families have their children in our school, some families are new comers to the U.S. It is our duty to welcome and give God’s love to these families, not only for their daily life, but also help them to know God. God’s Word is the lamp to our path (Psalm 119:105), so we use this opportunity to connect with families around us, to help them, especially in this thanksgiving season to help our families to think of all the thanks we can give to God.”
Mark Jiang is now enrolled in the Pastoral Studies Institute (PSI) studying to be a WELS pastor. Mark counts his blessings as he remembers receiving an invitation to gather with American Christian friends for the holidays. Let us all consider how we can use opportunities like holidays to share with someone that our Savior is truly the way to their eternal life. May the Word of our God continue to be a lamp for your feet and a light for your path as you follow the Way to heaven.
Written by Rev. Neil Birkholz, North American Asian Ministry Consultant
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