Couple reaches diverse community in Georgia

More than 1,000 refugees come to Clarkston, Georgia, each year. Send Relief missionaries Trent DeLoach; his wife, Elizabeth; and the believers at Clarkston International Bible Church (CIBC) have made it their mission to help these men, women and children feel not only welcome but at home in their new country.

Since the 1990s people from around the world have started new lives in Clarkston. This suburb of Atlanta eventually became known as “the most diverse square mile in America.” More than 60 countries and 100-plus languages are represented, and the population continues to grow.

A place so rich in culture is exactly the kind of city the DeLoach family dreamed of finding after ministering to Bosnian refugees in Louisville, Kentucky, early in their marriage. They began their ministry at CIBC in 2015.

A glimpse of heaven

Church services in seven, soon to be eight, different languages are held at CIBC. Bill Perrin, an 85-year-old veteran and longtime church member, says a Sunday morning at CIBC seems like a glimpse of what heaven will be.

The current congregation is comprised of one-third Americans (a term including both Anglos and African-Americans), one-third Africans (primarily from Ethiopia, Sudan, Liberia and the Congo) and one-third Asians (former residents of the Philippines, Burma and Nepal).

In 2017, CIBC became a hub for Send Relief compassion ministry and now offers “opportunities to minister every day,” said Trent DeLoach, including recreation ministry that offers athletic activities for youth and adults and job training and placement ministry to help residents build resumés, learn computer literacy and discover opportunities for employment.

The DeLoach family and members of CIBC have found that sharing food is one of the most effective ways to connect.

The church members provide a lunch for all first-time guests.

“There’s never a shortage of interesting dishes in Clarkston,” Trent DeLoach said.

Serving in simple ways

Also plentiful are the children and teenagers in the area, including the DeLoaches four children.

“My children are very active at CIBC and they love serving in simple ways,” Trent DeLoach noted.

Recently, CIBC started hosting youth services and young internationals are coming in droves.

“We are seeing God do amazing things. Several from non-Christian backgrounds have started to see themselves as part of our family. Many are close to accepting Christ,” he said.

The global impact of refugee ministry is significant because refugees remain connected to homes in remote villages that would be difficult for missionaries to access. Christian friends who can share the love of Jesus while helping refugees transition to life in America are important, the DeLoaches said.

“One of my dreams is for every Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist to have a Christian friend who can point them toward Christ,” Trent DeLoach said. “We share with our people a three-step process — learn a name, make a friend, share Jesus. It’s simple. … And we see God bringing the nations to us.”

Trent and Elizabeth DeLoach are Send Relief missionaries featured in the Week of Prayer for North American Missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. Learn more about the DeLoaches at