Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Ebenezer Church Hosts 50 Congolese Refugees

Ebenezer Church Hosts 50 Congolese Refugees
Story by Robert Booker

After receiving a call for help from the Nationalities Service Center (NSC), an agency that assists the United States government in resettling refugees, the Ebenezer church in Philadelphia responded by welcoming 50 Congolese refugees. The refugees had requested they be connected to a Seventh-day Adventist church before they left. The NSC located and contacted the closest Adventist church to their new home in Philadelphia—Ebenezer.

Ebenezer is responsible for providing for the spiritual needs of the Congolese. To accomplish this goal, the church purchased translation equipment, transmitters and earphones to translate the services to Kiswahili, which many of the refugees can understand, even though it is not their native tongue. Members also secured the services of a man who speaks Kinyarwanda, the native tongue of the Congolese, and obtained Sabbath School lessons in Kinyarwanda. The church also plans to start English as a Second Language classes for the refugees.

Even with the language challenges, the families are becoming actively involved in various church activities. The Congolese children participate in various Children’s Ministries activities and sing with the children’s choir.

Crystal Drake, wife of Pastor Charles Drake, is spearheading the efforts, along with the support of her husband and church members. “The church has rallied around these families. They have given so much in clothing and household goods until we had to ask them to stop,” she says. The church also provides school uniforms and holds job-training seminars for the group.


Awesome opportunity to minister to our brothers and sisters in a practical manner! I am a member of the North Philadelphia SDA Church, but this is great news!
I grew up at Ebenezer , and it makes me very proud of my childhood / family church. Keep up the good work as you share the love of Christ!

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