In just under three weeks now, seven students, co-leader Caleb Huber, and I will begin our 6-week community health immersion experience, entering into the heart of the refugee community in Nashville, where we will live alongside Burmese, Bhutanese, Iraqi, Afghan, Somali, Ethiopian, Cuban, and Congolese people. We enter in not as know-it-all, medical professionals that have all the answers, but as humble neighbors and friends, seeking to learn from, understand, serve, and empower the refugee community towards health and wholeness… all for the sake of the gospel.
The thing that I am most excited about for the CHI is the potential for life-changing, cross-cultural friendships for the students. Over the last year, I have gotten to know a family from Sudan, a guy from Congo, and a guy from Bhutan, and they have become some of my best friends. I have learned so much from them regarding faith, family, food, culture, and worldview. I am so excited to come alongside the students in taking the risk of crossing cultural and social barriers, embracing the awkwardness, and ultimately seeking to love our neighbors, so that we might say like St. Paul, “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.” Because in the end we are all refugees… longing for our heavenly home.
“For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. … To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23 ESV)
Written by guest blogger Stewart Goodwin who is completing a year-long fellowship at Siloam as part of The Nashville Fellows.