I am always amazed as I visit some of our smaller communities at the way God is at work through the congregations. Too often we tend to look at the numbers and the programs. We lose the story of the transformation of the individual.
A church in South Carolina wanted to make a difference in the lives of refugees. One problem…their town was too far from the refugee resettlement office. Refugees were not resettled there. Not to be discouraged they pursued this calling and discovered that one young Iraqi refugee woman lived in their town. A team of women immediately formed to help this new friend find a job, learn English, and begin working on a driver’s license.
A church in North Carolina realized that though their town was small, there were homeless present. They joined with other churches and began housing the homeless in their churches. As I watched the girl prepare for the worship service the Sunday I preached there, I saw her cutoffs peaking out underneath the acolyte robe. Her flipflops made noise as she went to pick up the cross she was to carry. She was a child of one of the families that the church had welcomed. From that time on, though the rest of her family does not join her, this young girl has not missed church.
A new Panera Bread came to town! The residents were thrilled. The church began thinking, what does God want us to do with this? So on Saturday evenings they collect the day old bread from Panera. Congregants then share the bread with neighbors who may need a little help with groceries for the next week or just to share a bit of hospitality.
She is retired but she does not want women from other nations to think they are in any way forgotten or unwelcome here in the United States. So she arranged an International tea. She invited women from her congregation and from the International community to come together and share tea and visit. Many did! Not wanting to push, she simply put Bibles out for those who might want one. Someone did and was very grateful.
On June 27th at 2:45 p.m. in Auditorium II at the CBF General Assembly in Greensboro, the Internationals Mission Community will host a breakout. This breakout won’t be about ministries and programs. Rather you will hear from Internationals themselves. You will hear how their lives have been transformed, their stories of how churches have influenced them, and how we can walk alongside them in the ministries God has given them. We live in a busy world of budgets, programs, and projects. Come hear from the individuals.