Open Doors in Sacramento
Imagine moving your family to a foreign country. You don’t speak the language or understand the culture’s values. Something as small as buying food is stressful. But what if your kids need medical care? How are you going to navigate the transportation system? What if people take advantage of you?
For some 12,000 people in Sacramento, California, those types of situations are daily concerns. Sacramento has one of the highest populations of Arabic immigrants in the United States, and Arabic Church of Sacramento has risen to the call of meeting their unique needs. As Pastor Raed Awabdeh says, the church’s purpose is to bring the good news of Jesus to oppressed, weary, and broken-hearted people from every nation of the world.
Arabic Church launched in 1998; about 10 years later, the members opened an Arab-American Center right next to an Arabic marketplace. The center’s purpose is to help Arabic immigrants assimilate into American culture. At the center, they can get help filling out forms, learning how to drive, enrolling their kids in school, and making doctor’s appointments. Pastor Raed says, “God gave us this opportunity to cross into their culture and serve them and share the gospel.”
Arabic Church also serves the Arabic population in Sacramento through outreach programs. The church holds an annual summer retreat where around 110 refugees learn about the life of Jesus. The church also has a back-to-school program for Arabic children. About 600 usually attend, and each one receives a backpack with school stationery, the New Testament, and the Jesus movie.
Even though Arabic Church is 20 years old, it is only recently (on April 25, 2018) that God miraculously provided a permanent meeting place. To secure the property, the church needed to make a down payment of $450,000. But two days before the members needed to sign, they were still short $100,000. It was important that they sign by April 25 because otherwise they would lose a $200,000 discount.
ADF approved a loan in the amount of $750,000 for the purchase, trusting that God would supply the rest of the funds—and He did! God prompted a former Arabic Church member to donate the rest of the money just in time. He wired it at 1:37 p.m. on April 25th, and the church signed for the property at 4:00 p.m. that same afternoon.
The new space will enable Arabic Church to hold more activities and events for the Arabic immigrants. Pastor Raed believes that the new building will help Arabic Church’s members to have a greater sense of ownership and responsibility as they serve their community. Just one of the facility’s uses will be Living Water Preschool Academy, which will provide a Christian education to Arabic children.
“Christ has placed an open door for our church,” says Pastor Raed. Right now three Muslim people are waiting to be baptized. By God’s grace, Arabic Church is creating a home for Arabic people in Sacramento, all while pointing them to Christ.