April 2018 Prayer Partner Message
Often the stories we hear about immigrants and immigration can be negative, focused on scary anecdotal situations or on divisive arguments over immigration policy.
As Christians reflecting on the topic of immigration, we have a better story to tell: the story of local churches welcoming, serving, and reaching the immigrants in their communities, of God’s transformative power at work in the lives of newcomers to this country, and of how God is using immigrants to bless and revitalize local churches throughout the U.S.
Ultimately, we want to point people—immigrants and citizens alike—to the best story, that of Jesus, who left the glories of heaven to dwell among us on earth (Philippians 2:5-8), whose life included a sojourn in a foreign land as a refugee fleeing persecution (Matthew 2:13-15), who ultimately died and rose again to reconcile us back to God and to one another (Ephesians 2:14-18).
The Evangelical Immigration Table is launching a blog entitled “Telling a Better Story” to give space for stories around the country of churches, ministries, and individuals welcoming immigrants and refugees in the Name of Jesus. We will tell ministry stories, show how the gospel is being shared with immigrants, and also hear how immigrants are both blessing and transforming the church in America.
My own experience as a pastor of a Southern Baptist Church in reaching and welcoming immigrants from around the world and helping start Latino and Korean churches prepared me to be a part of developing ministry in Montgomery, Alabama, to the Mixtec people group from Southern Mexico. Thousands of Mixtec came to Central Alabama 20+ years ago as they were fleeing a collapsing economy. Instead of rejecting or turning away from them, Christians in the Montgomery area and in other parts of the state of Alabama have embraced them, shared the gospel of Christ with them, loved them, and advocated for them. We are now seeing a Mixteco church be planted in Montgomery as a result, and those who have served and loved these immigrants have been blessed by them.
Please pray that churches in America will pivot to the immigrants in their midst with love, good deeds, the gospel, and advocacy. Pray that the American church will see that God has sent immigrants to us as people He loves made in His image. Pray that we will see the opportunity before us to welcome and love them as well, and in doing, that we would see and know God’s love more clearly.
There are many policy issues to pray for and many things going on that affect immigrants. But, perhaps we should take time to pray that the church in America will be unified in loving and caring for immigrants so that together, we can “tell a better story” of God’s love for all of us through His Son, Jesus Christ.
If you are interested in sharing how your church or ministry is loving and serving immigrants, please take a look at our blog submission guidelines and send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Southeast Regional Coordinator
Evangelical Immigration Table