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April 2017 Prayer Partner Story

 

April 28, 2017

Dear Praying Friends,

I was born in what was then Sudan, now part of South Sudan. When I was young, I lived in a village called Renk with my family. We were very happy. Then, a war broke out in Sudan between the rebel movement, which was fighting for Sudan to have a democratic government, and the ruling government, which wanted to enforce religious Muslim laws.

One day the government and the rebels came to our village and starting shooting in the town. We fled our home village and traveled to Khartoum, the capital, where I went to a Muslim school.  Despite my attendance at this school, the government began targeting me because they knew I was Christian.

My family and I fled to Egypt, which is where we became refugees. It was painful to think about my city being attacked during the war and very hard to see people being killed, having to flee, and becoming separated from their families. You ask yourself: Why? Is all of this violence and hate truly because we believe in Christ?

We applied to be resettled in the United States and were accepted. It was a great opportunity but also a very fearful moment for me: We were going to a strange place, where I didn’t know anybody, and I was very scared.

We took two long plane rides to Florida. When we arrived in Florida, my heart soared. The people welcoming us were strangers, but they came with a big banner, American flags, shouting “Welcome to America” and hugging us. In that moment, the fear of a strange new place was replaced by a feeling almost like we had family and friends here already. Even our apartment was ready and food was prepared for our first dinner.

Our home of Sudan had given us nothing but persecution and violence, and now in a strange place we were welcomed with love and in the spirit of Christ. This was a moment that will resonate in my mind and in our family’s mind forever. When I think about the role of the church, I always think about how cared for and loved my family felt when we arrived.

Now I work serving refugees in Christ’s name, and I am so thankful that I can do for other refugees what was done for me.

Please join me in prayer:

  • For the estimated 21.3 million refugees in the world today, each one made in the image of God with inherent dignity and potential, that God would protect their lives.
  • For the many refugees who are persecuted particularly because of their Christian faith, that God would strengthen and reward them.
  • For refugees persecuted for other reasons — whether political opinions, ethnicity, religion, or another reason — that they would be welcomed and protected in the countries to which they flee.
  • For refugees resettled into the United States, that local churches would continue to welcome them and that public policies would allow for refugees to continue to be welcomed.

Thank you,

Nhial Kou Dinka

Resettlement Specialist

World Relief, Jacksonville, Florida


Queridos amigos en Cristo,

Nací en lo que fue una vez Sudán y que ahora forma parte de Sudán del Sur. Cuando era joven, vivía con mi familia en una aldea llamada Renk. Éramos muy felices. Pero entonces estalló una guerra en el país entre el movimiento rebelde, que estaba luchando para que Sudán tuviera un gobierno democrático, y el gobierno, que quería hacer cumplir las leyes religiosas musulmanas.

Un día el gobierno y los rebeldes vinieron a nuestra aldea y empezaron a disparar en el pueblo. Nuestra familia abandonó el lugar y nos trasladamos a Khartoum, la capital, en donde asistí a una escuela musulmana. A pesar de que yo asistía a esa escuela, el gobierno comenzó a acosarme porque sabía que yo era cristiano.

Así que mi familia y yo volamos a Egipto en donde nos convertimos en refugiados. Es muy doloroso pensar en mi ciudad atacada por la guerra y más difícil aun ver gente asesinada, o teniendo que escapar y separarse de su familia. Así que uno se pregunta ¿por qué pasa todo esto? ¿Es todo este odio y violencia solo porque creemos en Cristo?

Nuestra familia aplicó para restablecerse en los Estados Unidos y fuimos aceptados. Fue una gran oportunidad, pero al mismo tiempo un momento en el que me sentí muy temeroso; estábamos yendo a un lugar extraño en el que no conocía a nadie y yo estaba muy asustado.

Tomamos dos largos vuelos hasta llegar a Florida. Cuando llegamos, mi corazón se estremeció. Las personas que nos recibieron eran extraños, pero llegaron con una gran pancarta, banderas americanas y, abrazándonos, gritaban: “¡Bienvenidos a América!”. En ese momento, el miedo a un lugar desconocido fue reemplazado por un sentimiento como si casi ya tuviéramos amigos y familia en este lugar. Incluso nuestro apartamento ya estaba listo con alimentos preparados para nuestra primera cena.

Nuestro hogar en Sudán solo nos ha dado persecución y violencia, y ahora, en un lugar desconocido éramos recibidos con amor en el Espíritu de Cristo. Este fue un momento que quedará para siempre en mi mente y en la de mi familia. Cuando pienso en el papel de la Iglesia, siempre recuerdo cuánto cuidado y amor recibimos cuando llegamos.

Ahora yo trabajo ayudando a los refugiados en nombre de Cristo y me siento muy agradecido de que pueda hacer por otros lo que antes hicieron por mí.

Por favor, únanse conmigo en la Oración para que:

  • Dios proteja las vidas de cada uno de los más de 21.3 millones de refugiados que hay en el mundo hoy, hechos a imagen de Él con un inherente potencial y dignidad.
  • Dios pueda fortalecer y premiar a los muchos refugiados que son perseguidos particularmente por su Fe Cristiana.
  • Sean bienvenidos y protegidos en los países a los que viajan los refugiados perseguidos por otras razones, sean estas políticas, étnicas, religiosas o por cualquier otra causa.
  • Las iglesias locales puedan continuar dando la bienvenida a los refugiados que se restablecen en los Estados Unidos, y para que las políticas públicas permitan a estos refugiados ser bienvenidos.

Gracias,

Nhial Kou Dinka

Especialista en Reasentamiento

World Relief, Jacksonville, Florida

New Poll: Evangelical Support for Immigration Reform Remains Robust

For a recording of today’s press call, click here.

March 11, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Support for broad immigration reform from Congress is strong among evangelical Christians, according to a new poll from LifeWay Research, an evangelical research firm.

More than two-thirds of the poll’s 1,000 respondents expressed support for reform that both boosts border security and provides undocumented immigrants an opportunity to earn legal status and eventual citizenship. Poll results are available online.

The following are quotes from local pastors and national evangelical leaders, across denominations and communities, who discussed the findings on a press call today:

Ed Stetzer, Executive Director, LifeWay Research:
“The survey results show that evangelicals are supportive of immigration reform, yet also wary about some of what that might include. Law and order seems to matter more, but families and faith issues seem to move evangelicals into the pro-immigration reform column. Considering the current political climate and the assumptions in the current political discourse, evangelicals are surprisingly open to immigration reforms.”

Evelyn Chaparro, Spanish Pastor, The River Church, Brandon, Fla.; President, Radio Genesis, Tampa:
“The stories that I hear day to day from those I pastor and from the listening audience of the radio station are very real and sometimes very heart-wrenching. There is real fear and insecurity, and that dominates the lives of the people I serve on a daily basis. We need to speak for those that can’t, and we need to recommend and support immigration reform consistent with biblical principles. Latinos and other ethnic minorities have particularly strong views on this topic. The results of this survey help us see where we agree and where we still need to work.”

Shirley Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities:
“It’s very interesting to see the alignment for younger evangelicals, which includes strong support for a pathway toward legal status and citizenship. Young evangelicals recognize that immigrants are people who share our values. I think that the future is with this group of young people, who want to see reform sooner rather than later. Not only is diversity essential for learning today, but it will only grow in importance. Our colleges and our student bodies want to be in the midst of the emerging diversity conversation because it prepares everyone for a global future.”

Kevin McBride, Senior Pastor, Raymond Baptist Church, Raymond, N.H.:
“These results are important and encouraging to me as a pastor to continue to help our congregations see that Biblical principles do apply to current issues and challenge people to be involved. As a pastor I see this issue as a biblical mandate for me in the context of helping the poor and disadvantaged in society. Evangelicals are not as one-sided as sometimes we’re made out to be on this issue. People in our churches want to know how Scripture applies to what we’re seeing in the daily news.”

Ryan Perz, Lead Pastor, Cornerstone Baptist Church, Orange City, Iowa:
“I’m personally concerned about immigration reform because of how it affects the community I live in. If you come and visit my community, it’s filled with many immigrant neighbors, working very hard … they’re a vital part of the community. As a pastor and a lover of Christ, I want to be obedient to his command to love my neighbor as myself.

“The polling results show that any candidate has a lot to gain and very little to lose by supporting immigration reform. As potential candidates come to visit, I hope they’ll take note of these findings.”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:
“Hispanic evangelicals are glad the new research by LifeWay Research shows broad and diverse evangelical support for commonsense immigration reform. Our prayer is that Congress can follow the example of this evangelical coalition and pass immigration reform this year.”

Jenny Yang, Vice President of Advocacy and Policy, World Relief:
“For years, many evangelicals have been responding to immigrants in their communities with compassion and by calling for immigration reform. What this new polling shows is widespread support for immigration reform among people in the pews. Evangelicals believe there is an urgency for Congress to reform our laws because they personally know immigrants who are affected, or they may be immigrants themselves. We hope Congress, instead of being swayed by the minority, takes up immigration reform that a majority of evangelicals across the country supports.”

CCCU

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ICYMI: Evangelical Leaders Call for Compassion at Border

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As the U.S. government considers further responses to Central American children along our borders, evangelical leaders are urging a compassionate and just response.

“As a former Texan, my heart goes to the border of Texas. As a born-again Christian, the Gospel of Jesus Christ calls me to compassionate action for those who are suffering right now as a result of the immigration crisis, especially the children,” wrote Ronnie Floyd, President of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of the multi-campus Cross Church in northwest Arkansas. His Friday Baptist Press op-ed continues, “This is an emergency situation that requires the best of each of us in America … The Gospel of Jesus Christ moves me to call on all of us to demonstrate compassionate action toward the immigrant.”

And Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, wrote Sunday on his blog, “The gospel doesn’t fill in for us on the details on how we can simultaneously balance border security and respect for human life in this case. But the gospel does tell us that our instinct ought to be one of compassion toward those in need, not disgust or anger.” (Also posted in Spanish.)

Meanwhile, Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition and Pastor of The Lamb’s Church in New York, wrote Tuesday in TIME, “Legislative inaction has too high a cost. And when [immigrants] come to our shores seeking refuge from the tempest-tossed realities of violence and poverty, we cannot allow screaming crowds to be the voice of who we are as a people.”

Last but not least, Félix Cabrera, Hispanic pastor at Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, wrote Friday on the influential site The Gospel Coalition, “As a church, we are not called to condemn or to despise these children, even if they have broken the law. From my humble point of view, these children should be treated as refugees. For those of us who call ourselves Christians, the Bible tells us to welcome the stranger.” (Also available in Spanish.)

Join the conversation on Twitter using #Pray4Reform.

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