Walking the streets of a small city near the Syrian border, Jani prayed, “God, I’ve been here five times. The people I know…are in the same situations as two years ago. I don’t see any fruit or any way their lives are getting better. If you won’t let me move here, why have I been here five times now?”
Read more to learn more about Jani and how God raised her up to be KIN's Executive Director.
The refugees in this small city couldn’t remember Jani’s name, so they called her “Disciple of Jesus.” That’s how Said (pronounced Sa-eed) greeted her later when she “ran into him” in the market. He immediately invited Jani to his home, where she had previously shared the Gospel Story cloth with his children and even given them the Word in their heart language. “I want you to come back tonight,” he said. “I have a surprise.”
That evening, Said let her to the door of a storage unit. When he opened the door, the smell was terrible. Some of the people inside had eye patches or missing limbs, and none of them had access to showers. They were all refugees—about 60 people in a 10’ x 20’ space--all raising their hands and singing, “Thank you, God, for your protection.”
Said turned to her, “I told other people about your stories, and we all want to praise Jesus!” With tears in her eyes, Jani remembered an October night ten years earlier when a missionary visited her church and shared the exciting things God was doing in his area. She had imagined God’s Kingdom like a garden, flowering up in small ways across the world. Now it flowered in this small city, among people the world was trying to forget. And God used Jani to plant the seed.
Jani came back from that fifth trip, finished her degree in Non-profit Management, and eventually started volunteering with KIN. As funds became available, she began coordinating KIN’s volunteers on top of teaching ESL and culture classes. In 2020 (during Covid), she stepped into the role of executive director, serving metro Knoxville's churches and international population.
Watch God work!
God is at work through KIN in metro Knoxville! Explore these stories of churches, volunteers, and others representing Jesus among our international friends and neighbors. You may recognize a situation or place.