By Haley Seboe

“Someone’s in the parking lot, and I think they’re going through cars.”

It was a Sunday morning in July 2016 at Faith Baptist Church in Glendale, Arizona. Lupe Menzoza was preparing to teach the teen Sunday School class when he was informed of suspicious behavior in the church parking lot. When he went to check it out, he realized that his phone, which he had left in his car, had been stolen.

Lupe knew who the culprit was: a young refugee boy named Cloude who frequently caused trouble. A conversation with Cloude and his father later that day was unhelpful—the boy denied the theft, and the language barrier kept Lupe from communicating with his father. Lupe walked away, writing it off as a lost cause.

The next morning, he found his phone in a ditch between the church and an apartment complex.

That’s when something clicked. No matter who had stolen his phone, the refugee children needed to be ministered to.

“We need to help these kids,” Lupe, a high school history teacher, remembers thinking. “We need to do something with them. Either we are going to reach them, or the world is going to reach them.”