For Nancy Pitrowiski, the last-minute trip to Lebanon had been a whirlwind process. But she knew God had her there for a reason, and when He calls her to do something, Nancy doesn’t hesitate.
For two months, she had been trying to find an English teacher to teach children at a refugee camp in Lebanon, but she continued to come up short and was running out of time.
Then, on a Sunday like any other, Nancy listened to the pastor’s message and felt God telling her “You can’t find anyone else because you’re going. Get ready and go.” Tears began running down her face as she felt the overwhelming sense of confirmation.
Later that day, she received a phone call that her church had found an uncashed check in her name from a few years ago. It was for $3000. The phone call sealed the deal and she was on a plane by Wednesday. “It was so powerful, there was no question. I had to go,” said Nancy.
When Nancy arrived, she was surprised to discover that of the four teachers, she was the only believer. Her first day in the camp, a refugee woman who had heard Nancy was a follower of Jesus came looking for her. She was very sick and wanted to be prayed over. Without hesitation, Nancy placed her hands on the woman’s shoulders and prayed aloud in the name of Jesus.
Over the next six weeks, Nancy spent her days teaching phonics to the children in the camp and the woman often visited her, asking Nancy to go with her to doctor appointments.
“Come and pray for me,” the woman would say.
So every doctor visit, Nancy held the woman’s hands and prayed for her, embracing her with God’s tender love.
Nancy was appointed with Mission Door in 2013, serving with City Ministry in Boston. She is passionate about working with immigrants and refugees, and with the Greater Boston Refugee Ministry teaching English as a second language.
At the heart of her ministry is a deep desire to see people experience the life-changing love of Christ. Her work can be sensitive in nature, as many come from Muslim backgrounds and have stories of both incredible perseverance and devastating loss.
Her ministry also includes recruiting and training up Christian volunteers to develop meaningful, long term connections with immigrants and refugees. After surveying refugees about the biggest problems they face living in the United States, Nancy discovered it wasn’t getting a job or finding housing like she had expected. The hardest thing for refugees was dealing with loneliness.
With over 300 trained volunteers, the Greater Boston Refugee Ministry pairs volunteers with refugees in need of English tutoring, assistance in getting social security cards and citizenship, or even help with everyday tasks like grocery shopping and using household appliances.
Through these paired relationships, volunteers develop trusting friendships with refugees, providing the opportunity to share their personal testimony and the hope of Jesus.
Years ago, before Nancy left for a trip to Iraq to work with refugee women, she heard God’s direction as clearly as if someone was standing right in front of her. “Tell my people I love them.”
This message continues to be the foundation of her ministry.
“I have to trust that He’s got this and will send me where He wants,” said Nancy. “He’ll put who He wants in front of me, I just have to be willing to open my mouth and tell them about Him. So, that’s what I do.”
Christ’s love is shared when she embraces a pregnant refugee from Iraq and houses the whole family for over two years.
Christ’s love is shared when she spends over a year helping a woman learn to read so she can receive her citizenship or when she weaves Bible stories into teaching English pronunciation.
Christ’s love is shared when she prays with a refugee before he heads out for work each evening or talks about the Bible with a group of women over a cup of Somali tea.
And so many individuals come asking for prayer. They know she is a Christian and a follower of Jesus, and they come seeking prayer for safety, for their family, for healing and for hope. Nancy never passes up the opportunity to pray for them, pray with them, and encourage them towards Christ.
She humbly serves as God has called her to do and through her testimony, her faith and her actions, she trusts and knows that God is at work through her to bring these people He loves into relationship with Him.