“We have to be good neighbors and help.”
Congolese pastor who once sought asylum now mobilizes churches
Cara Salazar, content writer
While fleeing violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pastor Sepa never imagined how God could turn such a desperate situation into something good.
“I sought asylum in 2012 and was resettled by Bethany Christian Services,” says Pastor Sepa. “My journey was very difficult. But when I arrived, I was blessed to find a church that loved the stranger and they welcomed me.”
Church members helped Pastor Sepa find a job and apartment, prayed with him, and supported him as he enrolled in college and graduated. Overcome with gratitude, he wanted to help others in his new community with the same care and concern he had received.
A gifted leader and natural networker, Pastor Sepa began organizing prayer events and information sessions for local pastors to learn how they could start serving refugees. He quickly realized the church could fill a gap for much needed social and spiritual connection among refugees.
“Pastors began coming to me because they saw this need and had a heart for refugees but didn’t know how to begin serving them,” says Pastor Sepa humbly. “All sorts of pastors. Chinese. Latino. White people and Africans. Soon, I started a refugee ministry mobilization workshop, and people from other states came. It’s an image of heaven. The cross made us to be together.”
Whether it’s organizing a winter coat drive, providing transportation, or hosting a potluck meal, Pastor Sepa clearly recognizes how his past experiences have brought him to this moment.
“The welcome I received was so good and it affected me,” he says. “It’s now my hope that others can feel at home, belong, and benefit from the opportunities here.”
His advice for those new to welcoming refugees?
“Remember the Good Samaritan? Don’t pass someone by. We have to be good neighbors and help. I believe that is what God wants.”