A message from Europe asking if we can help a refugee ministry in Cyprus…
A call with a person with significant profile and influence in the world of refugees exploring the possibilities of gaining some frontline ministry experience…
An email from Switzerland connecting me with a person at the UN Refugee Agency to whom I sent a report about how churches in Lille, France, are working together to provide shelter and education to minors seeking asylum in the country.
Some initial planning for my next visit to Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp in early 2019…
These are some of the things that I’ve been working on in the past couple of days.
There is so much that needs to be done – and that can be done – to help people survive and recover from forced displacement. The main challenge we face is finding financial partners who will support those ready and willing to serve with us along the Refugee Highway.
Pray with me that God would raise up the missionaries we need AND the financial partners needed to pursue our pressing mission.
I serve with IAFR because it is focused on serving the world’s most vulnerable people – often in overlooked and remote places. IAFR does this in ways that I feel look like Jesus – in ways that are tender, thoughtful and gentle and also wild, progressive, creative and very challenging. I’m drawn to IAFR because of the way I see God’s heart playing out in what we do.
-Kelsey Briggs, preparing to serve in Ventimiglia, Italy
This is a paraphrase from an online video interview I made with Kelsey today. I plan to show to our board next month. Kelsey is in her 20s and eager to finally get to Italy to pioneer ministry in a context to which the media pays little attention, but in which there are thousands of vulnerable women, children and men desperately trying to find a way to survive.
I’m praying that God would send 1000+ young women and men of faith – people like Kelsey – to join IAFR and step out onto the refugee highway in places like Ventimiglia.
Every one of our leaders is asking for more teammates. Would you join me in praying that God would call people to join with us?
I know God can do it. I was 22 when God called me into this ministry back in 1980. So as I pray, my faith is strong and my hopes are high.
Graph: IAFR growth in terms of missionaries
I spent much of Friday preparing for our upcoming Annual Board Meeting in September. While our board meets monthly via video conferencing, Our annual board meeting is when we all gather together in the same space for a day.
I was encouraged as I updated this graph and reflected on the relatively rapid growth we’ve experienced in recent years. It is especially remarkable as we have not recruited anyone! Every one of our teammates somehow managed to find us on their own. Rumor has it that God is involved in directing people to join our team.
“I’m interested in a conversation with someone in leadership with IAFR about ways that [our] International [mission agency] may be of service in refugee ministry on a global level.”
We received this request via email today from the Director of Strategic Initiatives at a well-known international mission agency. We look forward to talking with them soon.
I also received an invitation today to speak at a large gathering of mission leaders from Latin America meeting in Mexico this November. They want a better understanding of the global refugee crisis and to explore ways that they can get more involved in ministry along the refugee highway – both in Latin America and beyond.
I’ve also been invited to join the Turkey Region of the Refugee Highway Partnership when they gather in November. Sadly, I can’t afford to go to both Turkey and Mexico in November – so I have decided on Mexico.
Earlier this week, Paul Sydnor, IAFR Europe Regional Leader, told me that he has been invited to South Korea to offer some refugee ministry training to churches there. There are apparently a few thousand refugees from Yemen in South Korea today.
And we’ve got about 30 people signed up to participate in our online webinar tomorrow (12 July) that will offer a Biblical Perspective of Forced Displacement. Click here if you would like to register and participate in this free 1:00 PM webinar.
I’m encouraged to see a growing number of Christians, churches and mission agencies wanting to engage with refugees and asylum seekers. I’m glad that IAFR is here to help!