Goshen International Church and Community Center
We need your help!
Would you consider a financial gift to fund the construction of our new center? Your support will help us complete the building project, furthering our mission to serve the community and reach our vision to expand!
Read Our Story:
13 years ago, Bigimba Ngabo arrived in Tucson, Arizona from a refugee camp on the Burundi/Congo border, carrying a plastic bag containing a shirt and a toothbrush. He and three of his brothers had survived a massacre in their refugee camp two years earlier. There were 8 babies left alive and they sensed God saying, “take care of My children”. So they started an orphanage and trained house parents. There are now 68 children thriving in Goshen’s homes in Uganda.
When the brothers were allowed to come as refugees to America, they started a church for East African refugees. In recent years, Bigimba has noticed that young adult Africans have been tending to leave Tucson’s original African language, first generation churches.
Meanwhile, the pastor of a sister church, Gary Stokes, was sensing a call to something new after 15 years pastoring a multi-ethnic inner city (ish) congregation. Many of the orphans are sponsored by Gary’s old church and over the years he and Bigimba and their families have become close friends.
Bigimba came to Gary with an idea. What if together they started and co-pastored a multi-cultural church with services in English and a community center for refuges helping with English language acquisition, job skills, trauma counseling and other useful tools? He believed African “millennials” would come.
Goshen International Church and Community Center opened on July 30th, 2017. We began with about 30 people, almost a third of whom were in the worship team! Now we average about 80 on Sundays. We offer a joyful and welcoming church experience to everyone God brings into our lives. About half of the congregation is made up of African millennials and in total about 2/3 is African. Most of the remainder is Caucasian, with some Hispanic, African and Native American members. We are serving the community through English as a Second Language classes and trauma counseling and various young adult activities.
We serve as a bridge between churches with a heart to serve the needy and the African community in Tucson. We connect Africans with their new home in America by connecting them with life skills and Americans! And we connect asylum seekers and refuges with those who have gone through the same life changes already. As one pastor put it, we build highways for people with a heart to serve into our world. And we make a place for African millennials, where they can have leadership opportunities and learn new life skills for success.
So far we have met in a small space in a shopping center on a major east-west road. It has given us a place to start, for which we are very grateful. We are preparing to move into a larger space in the same center, which will give us space and flexibility for immediately growing the community center. We have had a sanctuary, two tiny bathrooms and a makeshift classroom for children’s church. Our new space is significantly bigger, so we will be able to grow from one classroom to two (allowing us to dedicate one to the community center during the week), a small prep kitchen, a storage closet that will allow us to say yes to regularly offered donations of furniture, clothing and toiletries, and bigger bathrooms. And, we will have a young adult lounge that will make the place a community center for millennials during the week. We plan to begin career skills courses and training as soon as our new space is ready.
We have about 80% of the necessary funds for construction. That leaves us $22,000 short of what we believe we will need to complete this work. Thanks so much for considering helping us and may God bless you!
A Crowfunding Effort By Harvest Media Ministry
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