Cherie Gray, founder and executive director of Tucson Refugee Ministry (TRM), died Oct. 18 in Tucson at age 51. She was diagnosed with cancer in November 2018.
As a North American Mission Board Mission Service Corps missionary raising her own support, Gray began Tucson Refugee Ministry in 2006 with support from Casas Church, Tucson, and Catalina Baptist Association. She said her call was to “connect churches with refugees, and to love and serve the nations at our doorstep.”
Prior to that, she served in North Africa and the Mission East as an International Service Corps missionary with the International Mission Board.
“Cherie had an Acts 1:8 philosophy as refugees relocated to Tucson,” said John Guillott, director of evangelism/missions for Catalina Baptist Association. “Her passion for refugees was evident and inspired countless others to become involved in helping meet the needs of those trying to discover the riches of America. Her enthusiasm will be greatly missed.”
In the September TRM newsletter, Gray told how, when she was initially admitted to the hospital last November, “I woke up the next day having slept so serenely as I had clearly heard God talk to me. He said ‘You have left a legacy, you have done the job you were called to do. You can go in peace now.’ I know that TRM will live on through the many programs and relationships that have come from God’s vision.”
Pete Seiferth, president of the TRM Board of Directors, released an announcement from the board. It said, in part:
“Although TRM was very much the vision of one woman, it has grown to become the vision of many in our city. Numerous people in Tucson have volunteered their time and given their hearts to this ministry. TRM has staff, core volunteers and a Board of Directors who remain committed to the vision of TRM — that of reaching the refugees in our midst with friendship and the love of God. By God’s grace, this ministry will continue, even without our beloved Cherie.”
A memorial service was held Nov. 2 at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Tucson. The family requested that memorial gifts be given to Tucson Refugee Ministry or that you volunteer for TRM’s Kids Kamp next summer.