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Obedient Response to World Situations Results in Changed Lives



Summer 2003
Obedient Response to World Situations Results in Changed Lives

What would you do if you heard a knock on your door and the harsh words, "Get out! You've got 30 minutes!"? What would you think about as you layered on clothes, grabbed a few precious things, and stuffed them into a duffel bag-the sum total of your homeland possessions? What would you say to your family members as you ran along side them into the mountains, trying not to look back as your house was destroyed?

A 4-year-old boy sat watching the evening news. As he saw the tragedy of families fleeing war-torn Kosovo, he looked tearfully into his mother's eyes. "Mommy, it's so sad. What can we do? Can we bring them here to our home?"

A church's refugee relocation project was born the day that young mother, expecting her third child, saw the faces of those in need and responded to her son's question. She called her pastor and Christian friends.

Six months later, the relocation team and a 4-year-old boy were at the airport to welcome a Muslim family of five. They spoke no English, but they knew how to embrace those whose choices had plucked them out of a refugee camp in Macedonia to begin a new life in the US.

Explaining how to use a microwave; teaching basic phrases in English; bringing in a Christmas tree; telling the story of the first Christmas; going for an ice cream cone, to the grocery store, on job interviews; getting the children registered for school; taking them to church and sitting beside them; singing with all of your heart; hearing the answers to heart-wrenching questions. It's all part of sponsoring a war refugee family to come to the US.

There's more. Ten people from that church are part owners of a house in which the family lives. One day the family will have good jobs, a savings account, and the ability to purchase a home. One day they will call Jesus their Lord. Until then, the church watches as the lives of five people-their friends-are transformed.

That young mother and her church's obedience is a response to God's command that we love one another as we love ourselves. Love transforms. Because God's people dared to say "yes," a family from the other side of the world has a home among us-a house, a church family who loves them, and an unfolding future full of God's miraculous provision. You and your church can respond to the needs of war refugees from any of a dozen different countries. You may begin by contacting the US Department of State at http://www.state.gov/g/prm/

-by Karen Roberts, a member of the Friends Church in Colorado Springs and board member for India Gospel League.

If the project in this story is too big, here's a smaller one that almost anyone can do. Contact organizations that have child sponsorship programs. Before making a commitment, talk to people who already sponsor children. Groups like Compassion (www.compassion.com), India Gospel League (www.iglworld.org), and Christian Children's Fund (www.christianchildrensfund.org) provide great ministry opportunities for a hands-on approach.