Adults on Mission Blog

Praying for the Masses: Do I see refugees with Jesus’ eyes?

She came across the border with only the clothes on her back and several small children. Her husband had remained behind to fight ISIS and protect what was left of their home. At least, she hoped he was still there protecting their home, because she had not heard from him in over a year. Now she sat across from me at our English as a second language class looking tired and confused. How could I explain the basics of our lesson without knowing her language? How would I ever reach her with the gospel?

Could this woman have been one of the thousands of refugees crossing into Europe? When I watched them on TV, my thoughts were not so wholesome or Christian. You know the saying “Can’t see the trees for the forest”? Sometimes we can’t see the refugees for the media. Our views and eyes lose focus when we look at things through the lens of this world and not through the eyes of the Spirit.

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Starting Over: Refugees Must Submit to a Thorough Vetting Process prior to Resettlement in the United States

In one country, a family lives in a city under siege. Gunshots and daily explosions rock the neighborhood. Children cannot play outside nor can adults go safely to work. Food and water are scarce. Escape is their only option. In another country, a young woman professes Christ and immediately becomes a target of the local police. It is illegal to profess any religion other than Islam. Her family shuns her, leaving her isolated and unprotected. If she stays, she will surely be killed. She too must escape to survive.

The United Nations Refugee Agency estimates that worldwide, some 21 million people, half of them children, are refugees—individuals driven from their homes to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. A very small number of these individuals (less than 1 percent) will receive the opportunity to start a new life in a third country after leaving their homeland.

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Refugees in Our Midst: Wars, Natural Disasters, Hunger, and Persecution Produce Refugees

More than 65 million displaced people, including 21 million refugees, fled their home countries in 2015, according to the Migration Policy Institute. In 2016, nearly 85,000 refugees resettled in the United States. They came from Syria, the Near East, South Asia, Africa, Latin America, and other places worldwide. Consider the countries where our missionaries are serving. Many of those, such as Ukraine, are flooded with refugees, forcing missionaries to revisit strategies and form new avenues of ministry and evangelism. The sheer numbers are overwhelming. What are citizens of receiving countries supposed to do?

If we flashed back to biblical days, both Old and New Testaments, we would read of refugees from countries such as Egypt, Moab, Babylon, and others. Perhaps one of the greatest movements of refugees in history was Moses’ leading the Israelites out of the land of Egypt and eventually into the Promised Land. Whether the plights of refugees existed more than 2,000 years ago or today, the Bible has some very specific words for those who find refugees in their midst.

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By All Means Changes Lives

“El Salvador will never be the same,” said one of our church members when she saw who had decided to go. While I can’t say that is true of the country, it is certainly true for those of us preparing to go. As of this writing, a dozen men and women are preparing for our church’s first international missions trip. Six of the 7 women in the group are members of our Martha Robinson Baptist Women, and some have never been outside the United States. As we prepare to step out of our comfort zones to change lives in El Salvador, changes within our lives and the life of our church began months ago.

Personally, I began working with our Wednesday night children’s ministry, at first serving food but soon joining in teaching first- and second-graders. Others joined in as well. Several children have received Christ as Savior and their families are starting to attend on Sunday morning.

Celebrate, Evaluate, and Look Ahead

For many small churches, WMU and Women on Mission or Baptist Women are synonymous. Perhaps 1 or 2 groups of women of various ages meet monthly to learn about missions, pray for missionaries, and develop a missions project. The pattern rarely changes.

Instead of doing the same thing with your adult missions group, celebrate what worked, evaluate what didn’t, and enter the new church year ready to pray, learn, support, and develop a missions lifestyle.

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Building the Kingdom One Friendship at a Time

The phrase “hustle and bustle” used to apply to the hurriedness of the holiday season, but for many, it now applies to everyday life. As we add just one more thing to our to-do list, we often let time spent building relationships fall to the wayside. However, meeting new people and building relationships should be an intentional part of life for every believer.

Consider how you can change ordinary activities into ones that build the kingdom of God. Sporting events, especially those our children participate in, offer opportunities to share life with others. If you sit in the same seats, seeing the same people each game, why not engage in conversation? Listen intentionally, ask questions, and you will be amazed what you might learn.

Home-cooked goodies are a way to get to know your neighbors. A recent television commercial depicts a young family treating its neighbors to a weekend pancake breakfast. Who could you invite?

Art as Outreach

I am not an artist, but I recently discovered a way to explore painting and accomplish a project I am not afraid to display. The popularity of social painting is increasing as a way to get together with friends, have a good time, and come away with something uniquely yours.

Our church hosted several painting parties recently as missions offering fund-raisers and outreach events. Men and women, teenagers to senior citizens, novice to experienced artists gathered together to pray, paint, and fellowship. We invited unchurched friends, family, and co-workers to join the fun and demonstrated Christ to them.

Search your area for social painting venues that offer group classes or order kits online and plan your own party. Then grab a friend, some canvases, acrylic paint, and brushes and paint for the love of Christ together.

Lynn Durham is a Kentucky pastor’s wife with a heart for teaching women how to increase their faith.

WMU in the New Year

The summer season is quickly coming to a close. Before you know it, it will be time to start the new church year. What are you as a leader doing to prepare for the new year in WMU?

If you have not considered attending training in your state, then you should definitely look into it.

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Simple Hospitality

Bill and Betty were a sweet couple in our church. Several years ago, Betty and I were involved in a mentoring group where she was my mentor.

Our times together were encouraging. Yet they were nothing elaborate. Betty just simply invited me into her home for conversation each week. We shared coffee and some of Bill’s fabulous desserts. He was quite the cook!

Just a few years ago, they both went to be with the Lord just 1 day apart. When I heard of their deaths, I was sad; however, God reminded me of their gracious hospitality and encouragement when I needed it the most.

He also reminded me that I need to find someone to whom I can show hospitality. I have such a great example of what that looks like, so I have no excuse. Will you join me in showing hospitality to someone today?

Hospitality on Mission

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” (Heb. 13:2).

Hospitality is often thought of as an event usually in someone’s home where people are entertained. However, hospitality goes so much deeper than that. Hospitality is an attitude of welcome. It does not matter what kind of home you own or how good a cook you are. It just means you welcome others with open arms.

How can you use hospitality in a missional way? It’s quite easy, actually. It’s as simple as inviting unsaved friends, family, or neighbors into your home. When people feel welcomed, they are more open to hearing about the gospel.

Provide them with a meal and conversation where you learn more about them and their needs. As you learn more about them, you can begin to share the gospel and relate it to their current situation in life.

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