Adults

Love on Display: Showing Christ to refugees is multifaceted

How can you be a friend and care for someone who misses her family and is concerned for her well-being? How do you respond to a young girl who shows you her good grades and tells you she dreams of becoming a doctor? What do you do when you are served a delicious meal or cup of tea? Instead of reacting the same way for each of these scenarios, you find an appropriate response that indicates you share that person’s concern and sadness. You express how proud you are of the child’s accomplishments or thank your host for her hospitality. When you respond to refugees, you can also look for ways to show compassion, share in their joy, and show your appreciation.

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Peace after Turmoil: Sudanese refugee believes the gospel

For decades, Ridick would feel the struggle of war on the outside—and war on the inside.

Rebel fighting was tearing his home country, Sudan, apart at the seams when he was in high school in the ’80s. He tried to put his mind to his studies, but it wasn’t long before he was being asked to join the war.

“I witnessed my friends being taken at night—they were taken to be trained to fight,” Ridick said. “All the roads at that time were blocked, and people were hungry—there was no food.”

So he finally decided he had to get out of that place. He sneaked onto a truck convoy and started the 100-mile trip to the next-closest city. It was a trip plagued with gunfire and attacks. And it was the beginning of a journey that would last for years.

“It was a rough road,” Ridick said.

He crossed the border into Uganda, joining his brother who had also escaped and was living with an uncle. After a month, the uncle died, and the brothers set off for a refugee camp in Kenya, where they lived for nearly a year. But it wasn’t peaceful there.

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Fears and Families on Mission

“Why are you taking her? She won’t remember any of it. What if she doesn’t sleep on the plane? Aren’t you afraid of her getting sick?”

These are questions and statements we have heard numerous times since announcing we are taking our toddler overseas with us this month for a short-term missions trip. Our church has a partnership, through the International Mission Board, with a global city where my husband is leading our group. He went on a vision trip in April, and we agreed that when we went back, we would go as a family.

Little did we know that I would end up being 6 months pregnant when we go. But this isn’t the first time I have been pregnant in Asia. However, it is the first time I have been a mom with a toddler in Asia and pregnant at the same time.

Fear comes to us in hidden places. Am I looking forward to 27-plus hours of plane rides (just on the way over there)? Not really. Do I want my 22-month-old to get a virus I can barely pronounce because we brought her to Asia? Of course not.

Recognizing the Humanity in Refugees

Refugee. It’s a heavy word laden with nuances in our world. There are so many types of people who fall into this category—those who are fleeing war-torn countries or persecution and those who need respite from poverty and famine.

But the meaning of the word refugee doesn’t stop there. Mention the word once in a group of people, and politics inevitably comes into the conversation. People have their opinions about the plight of refugees and what everyone should do to address it. Let’s be real, though: behind the word refugee is a human being. There’s a woman fleeing war to protect her children. There’s a man moving his family to ensure their survival during a time of famine.

Every person who becomes a refugee is a human life precious to the Lord. In the past couple of years, God has been working on my heart to ignore the political rhetoric and Facebook debates and focus only on His hurting children. If we are to live a missional lifestyle, then we must set aside societal prejudices and discover ways we can help save the lives of the people God loves.

Be Strong and Take Heart

Sharing the gospel is no easy thing. Neither is giving up spring break to go on a missions trip or evangelizing your late night study group. But God calls us to declare His glory among all people (1 Chron. 16:24), and that is what we must do.

I was 13 the first time I remember “formally” sharing the gospel with other people. As one of the only girls in my missions group, I was volunteered to speak to the residents of the homeless shelter where we had spent the previous week working. I was terrified. To tell the truth, I don’t even remember what I said. What I do remember is praying all morning, nonstop, that God would give me the courage to share His story and the words to do it.

Missionary Spotlight Update: Doc and Dee Douglas*

You’ve probably heard the term “heart language.” It describes the mother tongue of a people group through which communication flows freely and clearly. For the Deaf in the United States, it is “heard” through the hands of American Sign Language.

Until recently, no theological education using this optimal mode of communication was available to prepare Deaf Southern Baptist believers for mission service with the International Mission Board (IMB).

Missions Field of Many Languages for California Missionary

In his missions field, California missionary Howard Burkhart is often surrounded by people whose language he can’t always understand. That one daunting fact hasn’t stopped him from founding churches among 21 different language groups for the past 3 decades.

In 1984, Burkhart signed on with the North American Mission Board, then called the Home Mission Board, as the state missionary for Deaf people. His wife, a high school teacher for Deaf students in Southern California, taught him sign language. For 16 years, Burkhart worked with hearing-impaired people, all the while learning.

“Deaf people don’t expect everyone to learn their language,” he said. “They do expect to be treated as peers and as equals.”

Further, Burkhart said, hearing-impaired individuals have just as much right to pursue God’s call in their lives as anyone else.

“It has been extremely rewarding to have helped start several Deaf churches and trained Deaf pastors and leaders,” he said. “To see them fulfill God’s calling in their life and to see the impact they have made has been rewarding and fulfilling.”

Respect and Pray for Those in Authority

Entering a room in the intensive care unit, I introduced myself as the hospital chaplain, and the very sick woman in the bed raised her hand as if to physically push me away and boldly proclaimed, “I don’t believe the Bible, and I don’t believe in God.”

Many of our elected officials may feel the same way. They may want to push us away. They may or may not welcome our prayers on their behalf, but it does not change our responsibility to pray for them.

Pause now to read Romans 13:1–8 and then consider these motivations to pray:

A Time for Courage

The fall season is setting in with brilliant colors and crisp air. We all have different seasons of life. Our world is in a season of challenge. Some challenges are serious. In times like these, where do we find the courage we need?

We know our God is greater than our challenges. He is not caught off guard by what is in the news or even in our family or community. He is our great Healer, Comforter, and Guide. And He has plans. Psalm 139; John 14–17; Ephesians 2–3; and Revelation 7 show us God’s plans are greater than our own. His mercy, power, and beauty combine to amaze us daily. Nothing is too difficult for Him!

Using God’s Good Gifts

Several of us were crammed in a small room. Two cameras, a backdrop, and some lights took up what space was left.

In front of the cameras was an older South Asian man, a former Hindu turned follower of Jesus, sharing his testimony.

I sat behind the cameras watching the whole interview take place, listening to this man talk about how he was a believer despite his wife and 2 sons still being Hindu and how he followed Jesus because he knew Jesus answered his prayers.

After 4 weeks of being in South Asia on my first-ever missions trip, this was the moment that changed everything for me. Here was this man, following Jesus with everything he had, and our team, working to capture his story to show others across the world how God is working in South Asia.\

Tears streamed down my face as the man continued his story, and I knew this story was the kind I was called to tell—the story of a God Who loves all people and wants them to personally know His love.

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