Let’s be willing to care for the refugee

By Kathy Ferguson Litton

“I wasn’t God’s first choice for what I’ve done for China. I don’t know who it was. It must have been a well-educated man. I don’t know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn’t willing and God looked down and saw Gladys Aylward. And God said – ‘Well, she’s willing.’ ” —Gladys Aylward, missionary in China.

“She’s willing.” Those words captured my heart. Being willing is the first obedient step to follow the call of God and move toward His mission. Now, in America, we find ourselves in a critical moment when it comes to the topic of refugees. It is a politically-charged subject that is polarizing. Conversations abound from the water cooler to Twitter to our churches.

Truth is, we are called to love our neighbors. Are you willing to love, care for and minister to refugees?

“And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:33-34 NKJV).

Leaders lean in to learn, and there is much to learn about refugees.

Here are three helpful resources.

How to respond to the refugee crisis by David Platt

Hear from International Mission Board president, David Platt, on how to respond in a truly Biblical, God-honoring manner.

“The scope of today’s refugee crisis is truly unprecedented, affecting nearly 60 million people. Never before have so many been displaced, put in danger, and forced from their homes. In Syria alone, more than half of 22 million people have either been displaced or killed. More than 4 million have fled to neighboring countries. I share these numbers to remind us of the sheer enormity of this crisis.

Much of our response to the refugee crisis seems to come from a foundation of fear, not faith. Much of it seems to flow from a view of the world that is far more American than biblical, far more concerned with the preservation of our country than the accomplishment of the Great Commission.

As church leaders, we have a responsibility to help people think biblically about this crisis. Perhaps more than that, we have an unprecedented opportunity to respond intentionally for the spread of the gospel among refugees.” Click here to read the full post.

“He made one man. From one man, every nation of mankind that live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him” (Acts 17: 26-27 ESV).

99% of immigrants feel more welcome after a dinner by Lina Makso

Hear from a secular source as they point out the impact of hospitality. This testimony only reinforces what we see in scripture concerning the significance of opening our homes.

“The best thing for me is when participants thank United Invitations for an exciting or unexpected dinner and say they want to sign up for new dinners or that they have found new friends. I know that United Invitations spread joy amongst its participants, through it’s simplicity and the sincere acts of welcome. Our post-dinner survey shows that 99% of immigrant participants feel more or much more welcome in Sweden. After one dinner.” Click here to read the full post.

“I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in” (Matthew 25: 35-36 NKJV).

Bryant Wright on refugee ministry and the love of Christ by Alan Cross

Be willing to hear about a Baptist church who got out well ahead of the curve in real ministry to refugees. Plus engage several other rich resources provided.

“In this conversation, we talk about why a local church would engage in refugee ministry, the obstacles and challenges to this ministry, how the implications and call of the gospel is to motivate Christians to love sacrificially, and how fear is not to be the determining factor. Wright talks about how the preaching of the Word can and should shape a church to join in God’s mission and how we should not give in to fear.

We are not naive about the dangers—we know they are there. But, that doesn’t change our calling to reach out to others with the love of Christ.” Click here to read the full post.

“He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt” (Deut. 10:18-19 ESV).

Friends, on this issue of refugees, I hope God sees us and says, “Well, she’s willing.”

What are some good resources you’ve encountered on this subject? Leave a comment below to share.

Published February 27, 2017

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Kathy Ferguson Litton

Kathy lives in Mobile, Alabama, with her husband Ed, pastor of Redemption Church. Both lost former spouses in car accidents, and God uniquely gave them new love and life together in 2009. Kathy enjoyed 26 years of life and ministry alongside Rick Ferguson. She has three children and ten grandchildren. Presently she serves as Director of Planting Spouse Development.