"There was a new kid in school today," Tobi told his mom. "His family just moved back to Nigeria from the United States."
"Is this his first time in Africa?" Mom asked.
Tobi shook his head. "He said he's been to Kenya before, but never Nigeria."
"Everything must seem so strange compared to what he's used to."
"Yeah, he kept referring to football as soccer," Tobi said. "I had to let him know that football in Africa is not the American type."
Mom laughed. "Well, I hope you were nice about it. Cultural differences can be very confusing."
Tobi frowned. "Mrs. Dada asked me to show him around during the break. I almost missed getting picked for a football team because of it. He thought everything was strange--even our desks! I hope I don't get stuck with him tomorrow."
Mom raised an eyebrow. "That doesn't sound like you. You usually like meeting new people. Is there something about this kid that bothers you?"
Tobi shrugged. "He's just so different. I don't understand how he could have a Nigerian name like Sola but not know anything about his home country."
"Tobi," Mom said gently, "have you forgotten about the exchange program you did in England last summer? Remember how bad you felt because some people said you talked funny? And how everything seemed so confusing to you?"
"That was different!" Tobi protested. "I was a foreigner over there, and not everyone was nice about it."
"It's no different from how you feel about Sola. Even though he's a Nigerian native, he's a foreigner here because he's lived abroad all his life. When the Israelites moved into the promised land, God told them to be kind to the foreigners that lived among them because they had been foreigners in Egypt and knew what that felt like. The Israelites remind us how we're all foreigners separated from God by our sin, but Jesus died so He could welcome us into His family. As His children, we need to remember that God loves everyone and take care of those around us who don't feel at home."
Tobi hung his head. "You're right, Mom. I hope Mrs. Dada pairs me up with Sola again tomorrow. I have a lot to show him!" Remi OyedeleHOW ABOUT YOU?
Do you welcome new people? Do you explain things to them and help them feel at home? Whether it’s a new kid at school or a family from another country that just moved to your street, Jesus wants you to welcome them—just like He welcomed you into His family. Share His love and kindness with those who are new.
TODAY'S KEY VERSE: Ephesians 2:19 (KJV)
You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household. (NIV)