It’s a beautiful Monday morning and I thank God for giving me the breath to live today. We will save a discussion on the “heat” for another day. I hope your week is off to a great start. Remember, the “outcome” is God’s responsibility. “Obedience” is ours!
Today, I am going to share a little more about our mission trip to Poland and other stops in Europe. Some of you are probably already tired of hearing about it and honestly I could write 6 months’ worth of blogs on everything that happened . . . but I’m not going to. I could talk about a lot of lessons we learned just from traveling. Lessons about searching for wifi, or getting separated without cell phone coverage, or luggage NOT to take, or how to get stopped at airport security EVERY time, or about fold-up seats on a subway, or well you can see how this topic could go on and on. But I’m not going to talk about those. I want to talk first about refugees and ministry to them.
Here in America a lot of the political debate is over securing our borders and keeping refugees out. I am all for our country doing a better job of trying to determine who is coming in and who is going out. But something we experienced on our trip made me reevaluate the whole issue of refugees. There is a difference between “immigrants” and “refugees.” We would all question refugees but in one country we visited where our missionaries are ministering to these people we saw things in a different light. We saw compassion for people in need that ALL of us should have. They are families just like us. (Check out the video interview with Derek on this page) Every day 42,500 people flee their homes. Today is World Refugee Day. What I learned is that as these refugees flee their homes they are often more open to hearing new truths about God. They are often, maybe for the first time, able to see beyond Islam to a God that loves them and is concerned about them. Can you see how God is able to take something that is bad in their lives and something that we see as a problem on many levels and He is able to give us the opportunity to use it for His glory and for their ultimate benefit? What an amazing thing it is when we see refugees as an opportunity rather than a problem. Oh sure, it is still a physical problem but we need to see the light in the middle of the darkness.
Continuing on with this theme we also learned that in cases where these refugees come to Christ there are almost always four common denominators. In each situation there are at least these four things that occur when someone is converted from Islam or some other religion to a true faith in Christ. The first thing that happens is they have a “significant interaction with a believer.” They develop something more than just a casual meeting with a believer in Christ. The second thing that happens is that they are given a “bible in their heart language.” They are given the word of God in a language that they can read or that someone can read to them. The next two may seem a little “mystical” to us but we need to remember the culture that many of these people are coming out of. The third thing that happens is they see an “answered prayer from a believer.” They share a prayer request and a believer prays for that request and they see God answer the request. I wonder how many of us pray for specific things in our lives. To them this is an affirmation that God is real. The fourth and last one is even more foreign to us and might be something that we find to be beyond our belief system. They often see a “vision” or “dream” that God gives to them and that is then fulfilled. If you are like me that seems odd and something beyond my experience but for them this is a very real thing and something that it seems God is using to draw them unto Himself. The Bible does talk about visions and dreams so it is not foreign to scripture. Feel free to do a study before you dismiss this too quickly.
It is still amazing to me how God has given us the opportunity to reach people through the refugee crisis that we might never have had the chance to reach. He asks for us to show the love of Christ to these people. I hope you will continue to pray for our missionaries who are working around the world. I also hope you will give to Lottie Moon and maybe you have never heard of BGR (Baptist Global Response) but this is another way you can be involved in ministering to people around the world.
I was going to share an article about the struggles that missionaries face when returning home but I think I will save that for next week.