Adult Team Blog

Refugees in Our Midst: Wars, Natural Disasters, Hunger, and Persecution Produce Refugees

More than 65 million displaced people, including 21 million refugees, fled their home countries in 2015, according to the Migration Policy Institute. In 2016, nearly 85,000 refugees resettled in the United States. They came from Syria, the Near East, South Asia, Africa, Latin America, and other places worldwide. Consider the countries where our missionaries are serving. Many of those, such as Ukraine, are flooded with refugees, forcing missionaries to revisit strategies and form new avenues of ministry and evangelism. The sheer numbers are overwhelming. What are citizens of receiving countries supposed to do?

If we flashed back to biblical days, both Old and New Testaments, we would read of refugees from countries such as Egypt, Moab, Babylon, and others. Perhaps one of the greatest movements of refugees in history was Moses’ leading the Israelites out of the land of Egypt and eventually into the Promised Land. Whether the plights of refugees existed more than 2,000 years ago or today, the Bible has some very specific words for those who find refugees in their midst.

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By All Means Changes Lives

“El Salvador will never be the same,” said one of our church members when she saw who had decided to go. While I can’t say that is true of the country, it is certainly true for those of us preparing to go. As of this writing, a dozen men and women are preparing for our church’s first international missions trip. Six of the 7 women in the group are members of our Martha Robinson Baptist Women, and some have never been outside the United States. As we prepare to step out of our comfort zones to change lives in El Salvador, changes within our lives and the life of our church began months ago.

Personally, I began working with our Wednesday night children’s ministry, at first serving food but soon joining in teaching first- and second-graders. Others joined in as well. Several children have received Christ as Savior and their families are starting to attend on Sunday morning.

Celebrate, Evaluate, and Look Ahead

For many small churches, WMU and Women on Mission or Baptist Women are synonymous. Perhaps 1 or 2 groups of women of various ages meet monthly to learn about missions, pray for missionaries, and develop a missions project. The pattern rarely changes.

Instead of doing the same thing with your adult missions group, celebrate what worked, evaluate what didn’t, and enter the new church year ready to pray, learn, support, and develop a missions lifestyle.

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Building the Kingdom One Friendship at a Time

The phrase “hustle and bustle” used to apply to the hurriedness of the holiday season, but for many, it now applies to everyday life. As we add just one more thing to our to-do list, we often let time spent building relationships fall to the wayside. However, meeting new people and building relationships should be an intentional part of life for every believer.

Consider how you can change ordinary activities into ones that build the kingdom of God. Sporting events, especially those our children participate in, offer opportunities to share life with others. If you sit in the same seats, seeing the same people each game, why not engage in conversation? Listen intentionally, ask questions, and you will be amazed what you might learn.

Home-cooked goodies are a way to get to know your neighbors. A recent television commercial depicts a young family treating its neighbors to a weekend pancake breakfast. Who could you invite?

Seeking the Divine: A Mother’s Mission

“Nor, who created you?”

“God” (pronounced “Gah”).

“Who created Daddy?”

“God.”

“Who created Mommy?”

“God.”

“Who created your baby brother or sister?”

“God.”

“That’s right. God created everything.”

At 18 months old, my daughter understands patterns. And the patterns I place in her life need to connect her to something more than diaper changes, baths, bedtimes, and meals. Her personality is developing quickly, and she is soaking in more language than I can keep up with.

Through the mood swings, the temper tantrums, the cuddles, the early mornings, and the asserting of her will, it’s easy to lose track of the time and let the day get away from me without teaching her things that will last beyond her time in this world.

Yet, each day, I have been tasked with the choice: focus on my needs and wants or invest in her eternity and make a little disciple out of my toddler.

Natural Conversations

I love my electric pressure cooker. It allows me to have the “set it and forget it” aspect of a slow cooker, but the food gets cooked in 1/3 of the time. And, the truth is, it doesn’t take much for me to want to tell you about it. That’s because I use it all the time and I think the results are miraculous. I can tie it into almost any conversation and I’ve been convicted recently about not doing the same with my relationship with Christ.

Why on earth would a pressure cooker be easier for me to discuss with people than the God Who saved me? I could give many reasons, but the most honest answer is that I spend more time focused on the trivial day-to-day things than I do my relationship with Christ.

When it comes to connecting our relationship with Christ to everyday conversation, the most natural way to do that is to be in relationship with Christ. Study the Bible every day. Pray without ceasing. Don’t be afraid to share with others about the difference those habits make in your life. That last one is the hardest for me. I’m constantly afraid of being judged as ungenuine. I question my own motives and if I’m questioning, surely others are, too, right?

Extraordinary Blessings in Ordinary Places

I like to consider myself a person who delights in the simple pleasures of life. A cup of coffee in the morning, a hug from a friend, or an afternoon spent driving with my windows down can lift my spirits more than an expensive trip to a spa or any sort of “retail therapy.”

Recently the Lord has been teaching me to see these small comforts as they are meant to be seen: as blessings from Him. Second Corinthians 1:3 says God is the “God of all comfort” and James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above.” So it is obvious that any happiness we derive from the little things, as long as they are free from sin, comes as a gift from the Lord.

Art as Outreach

I am not an artist, but I recently discovered a way to explore painting and accomplish a project I am not afraid to display. The popularity of social painting is increasing as a way to get together with friends, have a good time, and come away with something uniquely yours.

Our church hosted several painting parties recently as missions offering fund-raisers and outreach events. Men and women, teenagers to senior citizens, novice to experienced artists gathered together to pray, paint, and fellowship. We invited unchurched friends, family, and co-workers to join the fun and demonstrated Christ to them.

Search your area for social painting venues that offer group classes or order kits online and plan your own party. Then grab a friend, some canvases, acrylic paint, and brushes and paint for the love of Christ together.

Lynn Durham is a Kentucky pastor’s wife with a heart for teaching women how to increase their faith.

Summer Opportunities Abound

How’s your summer going? Have you been busy? What kinds of opportunities have you had? Have you served in a ministry? Participated in a missions project of some kind? Maybe Vacation Bible School or a community event? Is your schedule full? Are you running ragged? Or perhaps you’re at the beach—finally resting—feet propped up, sun block on, and cold lemonade in hand. Mmm, I can almost taste it. . . . Rest is a good thing, too! Wherever we find ourselves this summer, opportunities abound.

I love the summertime. It has a different feel. Feet in the sand, sun on our faces; even if we’re working, running errands, or taking care of others, we can sometimes sense an energy with more hours of daylight and time to take a few breaks.

The good news is that God created summers. They were His idea! He also made us in His image, which means that we can get creative, too. In the summer, we sometimes have a different schedule that lends itself to drawing out our creative side. We may have many different opportunities to choose from, or we can create some of our own! What have you been thinking about this summer?

Henna Storying

Knowing hundreds of Southern Baptists would pray for me on my birthday, I decided to share the gospel on that day with as many Muslim women as possible. I invited six co-workers to join me in a visit to an outlying park in our Central Asian city. We took henna paste and a sign saying, “Free henna tattoo with a story.”

Many women stopped to sit for the tattoo and listen to the story. One woman announced, “They’re doing henna tattoos and telling Bible stories, and it’s like they are worshipping God.”

One middle-aged woman named Zeynap* stopped with her sister and baby. As she sat for the tattoo, I began the story, “In the beginning, God created the world and it was a perfect place.” I shared the story of the Fall and the story of the Savior. Zeynap was touched and wanted a Bible. She said, “I’ve been visiting old Orthodox churches looking for someone to ask about Jesus and trying to get a Bible.”

She came to church with me the next Sunday. The pastor told the story of Nicodemus. After the service, Zeynap whispered to me, “Today I was born again.” We’ve been meeting for discipleship ever since.

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