Women on Mission

Taking Hope to the Hurting: Network with Social Services to Meet Needs

homeless woman

Picture a lonely single mom standing in line at the social services office or a young woman getting out of prison with no family or friends to support her. Imagine a middle-aged man addicted to painkillers, feeling misunderstood by his peers as he struggles toward recovery.

What do all these people have in common? They are all individuals with spiritual, emotional, and physical needs.

So often when we search for missions projects, we overlook the desperate human needs all around us. For many of these isolated individuals, their only connection to “help” is agencies outside the church. Finding these people can help us bridge the gap and build relationships for the kingdom.

Ask your local social services office for specific ways your missions group members can help area individuals. What are people’s most desperate unmet needs? Would the office allow you to post a flyer or church brochure on its bulletin board?

To Refugees, with Love

refugee children registering for school

It looked like a normal apartment complex in the western part of Las Vegas, Nevada. Vickie McDaniel and her husband, Eric, went to check it out, but they weren’t interested in the actual facilities . . . just the occupants—refugees.

It was just supposed to be a time of prayerwalking and asking God’s love to shine. But God had bigger plans! He asked the North American Mission Board church planters to move to this complex and let the refugees experience His love firsthand.

“We prayed daily, spent time in His Word, and allowed the Holy Spirit to show us where God is at work in our community,” Vickie McDaniel explained. “God spoke to Eric and I. He wanted us to move so as to be more accessible. . . . This allowed us to meet, help, love, and build relationships.”

It’s Worth Your Time: Reach out to Refugees

reaching out to refugees

Have you ever moved to a new place where you didn’t know anyone? It seems as if it takes forever to find your way around and get used to new roads, grocery stores, and schools. Without family or friends nearby, it’s easy to withdraw.

Then it happens. A new colleague at work or person at the church you’re visiting offers some advice or recommends his or her most trusted mechanic. Life gets easier and you settle in. While we can probably all identify with this experience at one time or another, can you imagine doing it without knowing English? The majority of the refugees in our midst encounters this reality daily.

We focus in our churches on the need for refugees to learn English, and that is important. But in the meantime, how do they find housing, enroll their children in school, and understand how to get insurance or a driver’s license? The details of life can be overwhelming for a person who has never had to register his or her child for school or go to the health department for immunizations.

Make it Personal: Build Relationships with Refugees

Headline news reports daily showcase the worldwide refugee crisis. Governments pass laws to deal with influxes of homeless internationals. Communities struggle to find solutions to growing multicultural populations. Neighbors voice conflicting opinions. What should believers do in the face of such turmoil?

Sure, we care about the refugee issue. But how can we change caring about the issue to caring for the refugee? Instead of being overwhelmed with current events, let’s allow God to use us to reach the nations, one person at a time, right in our own backyards.

Ways to Create Space for Relationships

Physical Space

“Race” to Reach Your Community with a Missional Scavenger Hunt

In The Amazing Race, competing teams travel around the world to complete challenges in their pursuit of the $1 million grand prize. Plan an Amazing Race–style scavenger hunt to energize your missions group and reach out to your community.

Divide your group into teams (3–5 people is ideal). Give each team a list of challenges to complete within the time frame of the game. Teams should start with the required task and then choose which optional ones they will complete. The team with the most points at the end of the game is the winner (recognize the winning team at a church service or with a small prize).

Ready, set, go! Blow a whistle to send teams on their way. Play music to create a race day atmosphere.

Mission Scavenger Hunt

Assign 1 person to be the scorekeeper for the game. Instruct each team to select a team member to serve as reporter and send a photo of the team completing each challenge to the scorekeeper. Distribute the scorekeeper’s contact information (mobile number, email, Facebook messenger, etc.) to reporters.

Missionary Spotlight Update: Week of Prayer for North American Missions missionaries

It’s in our DNA as Southern Baptists to pull together as a community of believers and spread the gospel.

In the 1880s, Annie Armstrong pioneered the Maryland Mission Rooms, a missions literature library that detailed and circulated information regarding vital needs on the missions field. Armstrong called for women’s groups throughout the United States to pool their “egg money” and prayers for missions. Women knew that by combining their efforts, they could make an impact.

It might be 2018, but the goal remains the same. The Annie Armstrong Easter Offering enables North American missionaries to plant new churches, care for those in the community, and reach the lost all across the United States, Canada, and their territories. It is one of the most unique cooperative offerings in that 100% of the gifts go to support and equip missionaries.

No Longer Alone

“Our work is all about building relationships,” Kandi Ostertag said. She, husband Matt, and children Kaitlyn and Mckenzie have served in Guadalajara, Mexico, for 10 years. They lead a team of International Mission Board (IMB) church planting missionaries in the Bajío (central highlands of Mexico). They also encourage and help Mexican church planters as needed.

The Bajío covers a large area. As a result, many house/simple churches planted by the IMB and national partners over the last several years feel alone. Kandi Ostertag said the church plants often feel like “the ugly duckling and different from everyone else.” Since they differ so much from traditional churches, the house/simple churches’ sense of isolation can grow intense.         

To help overcome such feelings, the Ostertags host retreats and other events for these churches. Those activities allow church members to “get away from everything and have time with the Lord.” They also foster prayer support, encouragement, and friendships.

Refugees Are Here: What Now?

You hear the news—refugees are being sent to your city. Hardly any time passes and it happens. “They” are really here. “They” start appearing in the grocery store, lining up to enroll their children in school, and sitting in the doctor’s waiting room with you.

Your mind races. Is the vetting process enough to protect our citizens? What if “they” are really terrorists? What if “they” have illnesses your children or grandchildren can catch? It’s easy to panic. But what we really need to ask is, who are “they” anyway?

Who are they?

They are people. They are people who’ve been displaced from countries in distress. They are mothers, fathers, widows, widowers, grandparents, and innocent children. While we might carry concerns for what they’re capable of, we need to consider how they are feeling—frightened, alone, bewildered, and sad.

Discover their background.

After refugees arrive, conduct some research to learn where they are coming from. What is their homeland like? What trauma have they been exposed to? What are the cultural norms?

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Share the Gospel in Assisted Living Facilities

“Hey, Bubba, how are you today?” I asked as I leaned over to kiss my husband.

He turned to look at me and nodded his head. A stroke had left him paralyzed on the left side, and he now relied on the assisted living facility’s nursing staff to care for him. Two pairs of socks and fresh fruit lay beneath the small Christmas tree I bought for his table. A Christmas card pinned to the bulletin board offered greetings and reminded us of Christ’s birth.

How wonderful to know that residents who don’t have visitors would not only hear the Christmas story from volunteers but also receive gifts in honor of Christ’s birth.

Have you ever considered volunteering? Here’s how you and your missions group can start sharing the gospel with assisted living residents:

Communicating the Gospel to Women in Mill City

Missionary Sarah Landry has been serving for 6 years in Mill City, better known by most as Lowell, Massachusetts. The city’s nickname comes from its influential place in Industrial Revolution history. Landry works among the city’s college students at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and with women of all ages through Mill City Church.

Discipleship is the central part of Landry’s work. “I spend much of my time meeting one-on-one or in small groups, sharing the gospel, and mentoring college students and young women in the local church,” she explained. This requires building relationships with women who might be very different from her. It also requires time. “These relationships are a long-term investment, especially in New England, where it can take time to gain a foothold for the gospel to be heard,” she said.

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