Call to Action
18 January 2021
How can we, the church, reach out to the increasing number of refugees? Read the attached for your call to action!
In Leviticus 19:34 it states, “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I AM the Lord your God.”
And yet, the church struggles to know what to do!
They don’t know how to relate or how to care for them. They don’t understand that they come with cultural differences, cultural needs, cultural losses, and that they simply need God’s divine grace and love shown through friendship.
This is the word to describe it all: friendship. What does a friend do? They love you and support you. They walk alongside you during the good and the bad times. Friends listen and they care.
Many of the refugees, we have worked with within the last three years here in Sao Paulo, Brazil, have run for their lives. Some have escaped persecution. Some are married and have children without their extended families back home knowing any of these details, all for the sake of turning to Jesus. Others are running to save their lives because there is no food to be bought. There are no jobs to provide money for that food. Medical care is limited, if not non-existent.
So, if God is urging us to treat the foreigners, the refugees, as natives, what does that mean?
It means to treat them like “one of us” but in saying that, we also need to realize that it is the same as making friends. You get to know them and understand their background. You ask questions and are interested in their life and what they like to do for fun. This may all sound so simple and not spiritual. But to be honest, it is! It is spiritual because we are being like Jesus to them. We are eating with them at our table. and are meeting their needs when we are able. We walk with them in the garden and ask questions.
In 2021, we are even more challenged to this call as the numbers of refugees have increased. They are entering country after country that is not theirs and they are all in need of friendship. COVID-19 has taken some of that away from us due to distancing and isolation, but we are so thankful for the internet, WhatsApp, iMessage, any virtual tools we can use to further God’s kingdom. We keep in communication with them, check on them, we ask how they are coping, and simply maintain our friendship with these amazing and resilient people.
My call to you, God’s representatives here on earth, is to open your eyes and look around.
Who is the foreigner among you? Who needs to be a recipient of your friendship? And whose friendship could bless your life? How can you “BE” Jesus to those who are probably in your country not because they chose to but because they were forced? How can you help them feel, native-born? God is indeed at work, and if we choose to, we can be His vessels of amazing friendship that mimics Jesus!
Pray for these people to see and want Jesus!
Also, pray for their families who are left behind!
Moreover, pray for the local church to wake up and extend Jesus’ friendship to the foreigner!
And pray that we might be advocates, friends, and representatives of Christ to those who are in our country and desire to be seen as “native-born”!!
Author: Jennifer Neptune, missionary in Brazil