Called to Love a Stranger

Called to Love a Stranger

Vineyard Women is committed to sharing the stories of women stepping out to extend the Kingdom of God in their lives.  Today, we share the story of Carli Snyder.

After 18 years of moving around with my military family and being the ‘new’ person so often, I realized in college that empathy towards newcomers had grown over the years. Many of my friends were either new to Columbus or were immigrants recently moved to the country. A few years into my nursing career, I had the privilege of taking care of an Iraqi family. This was the first time I really understood the term refugee, and the first time I was excited to go back to work the next day! Paralleled with these experiences was a growing interest in the Muslim world. I was drawn to collegiate courses on Islam and Arab culture, I participated in three Vineyard short term mission trips to the West Bank, and I’ve read books and attended conferences on Muslims, Christians, Jesus, and the Koran. I see now that God was placing in me a love for Muslims and a desire to see them come into the Kingdom of God.

… God was placing in me a love for Muslims and a desire to see them come into the Kingdom of God.

In October 2015 I quit my job as a critical care nurse; an act of desperation after 3 years of night shift nursing stress, and what I believed to be a leap of faith and the appropriate time to start anew. God did not let me be put to shame. I started interning at Vineyard Columbus in the international ministries department a few months later. And what an exciting journey this year has been!

Early on in my internship I began researching ways to serve refugees. I found myself in Greece with my mom and two members of our church to see how we could engage in the refugee crisis. Upon returning home I realized that I could reach out to refugees in Columbus in much the same way that I had been building relationships with them in the camps. I started hanging out at the Hyde Park apartment complex where many Syrian and Iraqi refugees have been resettled. My internship began to take greater focus towards not only welcoming the newcomer but reaching out to refugees in particular. I absolutely love it and feel more alive than I have in a very long time. More than that, I feel a confirmation on this ‘for now’ calling as I look back and see how this year has been refining in terms of my character – I needed to repent of pride, return to true obedience, and reorient my focus on Christ and His glory. I’m still working on it.  This year has been a unique time of receiving grace and learning how to trust God in the truth of HIS character.

I’m not sure what the next several years hold, but it has been a joy to experience genuine and consistent relationships after so many years of moving and to also watch God redeem my past through how He is putting it to His good purposes now.

 

Written By:Carli Snyder