Dear Friends and Family,
Thank you very much for having the heart and the generosity to contribute to my Dominican Republic mission trip. The mission trip to Sanchez, Dominican Republic was fun, exciting, spiritual, adventurous and hot. Most importantly, God’s presence was in the mist. Because of your contribution, prayers and love, I was able see the amazing things that God did and is going to do for the Dominican People over there.
There is a reason for everything. I can say that one of the reasons God allowed me to go to the Dominican Republic is to show me how I should be grateful for the things that I receive and already have in my life. And to see how others pour out love for one another. God’s love conquers everything.
While I was there, God used the people to show me how to make use of what I have, such as how to turn a broken basketball court that has no rims and a hole in the back board, into something that can still be used to play a fun game of basketball.
Our team ministered to the Dominican people in Sanchez. While we were there, we had Vacation Bible Study with the kids at their school. We taught them some of the stories in the Bible such as Noah and the flood and Jonah and the whale. Thanks be to God that we had Ms. Kim, one of the leaders who knew Spanish to translate everything for us. Even though the language was a barrier, just showing love to the kids and the adults brought happiness to their faces as well as ours. We also helped build a house for the pastor of Sanchez. He kept us healthy and safe. It was a blessing.
Before going to the Dominica Republic, I had the intention that I was going to impact lives more than anything. However, they did more of the impacting in my life. We saw God continually do amazing things throughout the week we were there.
This trip strengthened my faith and trust in God. What I witnessed being done in the Sanchez was something only God could do. I know that God has great plans for my brothers in the Dominican Republic. I am glad He used me and everyone that went on the trip. Again, thank you so much for your generous support. May God, bless you!
Click to Watch (5:10)
May your relationship with God make a difference in your life today!
Click to Watch (4:05)
May your relationship with God make a difference in your life today!
Click to Watch (3:09)
May your relationship with God make a difference in your life today!
Dominican Republic Mission – June 4-11. Yolian, Munda and Micah will join a team of 17 more people in the Dominican Republic.
New Mexico Mission – June 7 – 17. We are taking a team of 9 to join a team of 12 more in New Mexico to serve the missionaries among the Navajo Indians.
Worldview Academy – June 25 – 30. We’ll be sending 9 students to Worldview for a week in June. Worldview is a leadership camp that teaches youth to effectively think about and practice their faith in a world of competing worldviews. http://www.worldview.org/
7th Annual Beach Trip – July 17-21. This trip rewards youth who live in a community of high crime, gangs and poor performing schools for rising above it behaviorally and doing well in school.
Instilling a heart for missions. We are sending three young men to serve in the Dominican Republic from June 4th to 11th.
Micah, Yolian and Munda will be going with McKendree UMC in Lawrenceville, GA to help build a house for pastor in the Dominican Republic and minister to the people there. Micah is the son of the founder and director of The Refuge, Scott and Tiffany Kelley. Munda is a young man from Sierra Leon and Yolian is from Eritrea. We are sending these guys to allow them to see and experience the heart of God – to renew and restore that which is lost, broken, outcast and un-reached. The team will be working with national pastors and long-term missionaries so they will not only gain missions experience, their service will have invaluable long-term impact in the Dominican Republic.
Ways you can be involved:
Please pray. Pray God will prepare the team for the mission and bless their efforts as they minister to the people of the Dominican Republic. Also please pray the financial needs for the mission will be met.
Another way you can be involved is to help provide financial support. Your help would be greatly appreciated. Would you consider supporting they guys with a donation by May 15th? Giving information is on the side bar on the left and on the “Get Involved” page of this site.
100% of your donation will go to the mission to the Dominican Republic.
Thank you for your prayerful consideration and generous support.
Thoughts on The Kingdom in Matthew 5:3-11.
We at times have brokenness and hardship and mourning in our lives, but God does not keep us there.
When we are broken, we will belong to the Kingdom (5:3)
When we mourn, we will be comforted ((5:4)
When we hunger and thirst for righteousness, we will be filled (5:6)
When we have pure hearts, we will see God. (5:8)
We can live in His Kingdom, be comforted and filled, and see Him. And when we are broken, mourning and feeling spiritually bankrupt, God will again fill, comfort and heal. We can live in fullness and comfort and healing. That is what Jesus wanted – John 10:10.
When I mess up, I get broken. When I have loss, I mourn. When I am distant from God and don’t have a pure heart, I eventually get hungry enough to turn back to Him. And I see Him.
Then there are ongoing qualities we can have – humbleness, mercy and peacemaking. Micah 6:8 says that the Lord requires us to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.
The humble will inherit the earth. (5:5)
The merciful will be shown mercy (5:7)
The peace makers will see God (5:9)
We can be sure that when we are humble, merciful and peacemaking, God will fulfill His promises of giving us an inheritance and showing us mercy. And we will see Him.
And when we are the children of God, regardless of how good we are, people won’t like us for our faith. But we are blessed to be His children. (5:11-12).
You are blessed…
May the Lord bless you and keep you and make is face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May He turn His face toward you. And give you His peace (Numbers 6:24-26)
Many years ago, when we were raising support to church plant in Kazakhstan, we were doing a presentation for a local church when one of the members asked, “Why? Why go to Kazakhstan? Why not just stay here and minister here? There is plenty to do here.” My response was simply, “Acts 4:12.”
Act 4:12 states, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
I still believe that. Now more than ever…because His love and grace has been so life changing for me.
I believe Jesus is the way and the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Jesus. Anyone who knows Jesus, knows the Father (John 14:6-7). Since this is true, then we should share about Jesus has much as we can.
We are commanded to love God and love our neighbor (Matthew 22:37-39). We are taught that pure religion is caring for those in distress (James 1:27). Jesus taught and modeled love, compassion, grace, kindness. We should follow His teaching and example. But loving only through acts of kindness is not enough. At some point, we need to share Jesus.
Now in our 22nd year of cross-cultural ministry, I am more convinced….
- Good deeds are not the Redeemer.
- Jobs are not the Healer.
- Food banks are not the Creator.
- Government is not the Prince of Peace.
- English classes are not the Messiah.
- Schools are not the Answer.
- Kids programs are not the Friend.
- Church is not the Rock.
- America, as great as our nation is, is not the Resurrection and Life.
I am not the Savior.
Jesus Is. And anything we do should point to Him.
Yes, we need to be kind to the needy, serve the vulnerable, and work towards redeeming our culture. But doing good is not enough. Our compassionate ministry should point to Jesus.
Refugees need Jesus. And if bringing them to America gets them closer to the message and reality that Jesus loves them, a lot, then bring them on. But if bringing them here means we put them in the worst communities in America, which the resettlement process does, and then do some really nice things for them here and there, then refugees will not be entirely better off. They will be better off, but not entirely. A lost person with some nicer things than what they had overseas is still lost.
Refugee resettlement and what is best for our nation is complicated.
But God keeps it simple for us. If people pursue the Father through Jesus…they will have life (John 10:10). If they seek first His Kingdom and Righteousness…all these things (His care) will be added unto them (Matthew 6:33). If they trust the Father, He will direct and provide (Proverbs 3:5-6).
The best thing we can do for a refugee? Acts 4:12. Jesus. There is no other name where refugees can be saved.
So here is your action item: Share Jesus. Share with invitations and meals and help and compassion. But also share with words. Someone around you needs to hear that Jesus loves them, a lot. And it might even be a Muslim refugee.
Help, Too Many Good Options
On a regular basis, we receive numerous requests for support from organizations reporting impact of thousands of lives. You may have received the same. The need and potential impact with our dollars can sometimes be overwhelming. You may have felt the same.
To help us decide where to give, there are four things that we consider when deciding to send support:
- Is what they are doing in line with our heart to see people come to Christ and grow in their relationship with Christ?
- Do we know them personally? (We believe God puts relationships together).
- Do they stay in touch besides communicating support needs (including expressing gratitude)? It’s about relationship.
- Is the Holy Spirit leading us to give? If God is leading us to give, then we give, regardless of other considerations.
If we answer to these questions, then we give. And we believe giving in such a matter makes a difference.
Impact and Numbers
How much impact does an organization make with our dollars? It depends on how impact is defined. I ran a summer camp for 5 years in a refugee community and reported that we impacted hundreds of lives. But over the years as I kept up with the kids, I saw kids down the road end up as pregnant teens, as prisoners, as gang members, as school dropouts… Yes, there were kids down the road who were thriving, but the difference was not because they came to my summer camp, it was that they had a family and a community that was offering the love and guidance they needed to be well-adjusted. The difference was family. The difference was community. So what impact were we really making? Asking this question led to the start of The Refuge. We started The Refuge because we wanted to make a deeper impact through discipleship instead of a broader “impact” through programs that met temporary needs.
Life-change is unmeasurable. We cannot report that we saw someone have a 20% increase in their walk with Christ, or anything like that. That would be unrealistic. Even someone coming to Christ, which we have seen, does not necessarily mean they will thrive in their relationship with God. A growing relationship with God takes some effort. All we can say is we have seen the result of life-change: people finding hope, loving more, forgiving and being forgiven, giving back and going on mission trips. We are seeing kids from tough home situations making wise choices. To us, that is impact. Yes, it is unmeasurable. But God is real and alive and active and He is working in The Refuge.
So may we simply encourage you to continue to be sensitive to God’s leading in how he would have you be involved with the relationships that have crossed your path. As you do that, you will help make an impact. And if you’d like to give to The Refuge, the information is on the left of this page and your gift will be received with grateful hearts.
Jesus Renews AND Sends
We have a heart to see others return to their own communities to share God’s love. The Refuge would love to see many ethnic groups in America return to their home nations or communities as missionaries to their own people. Our mission is Families experiencing abundant life in a growing relationship with Jesus. Our mission is important because having an abundant life in a growing relationship with Jesus precedes having the love and interest and commitment to reach out to our neighbor with His love.
Abby and Sunny
We want God’s mission heart to be realized by those we love and serve. God is working in the hearts of two very important young ladies in our lives. Abby, 16 years old and in the 11th grade, has expressed interest in the medical profession, possibly as a medical missionary. Recently at a missions conference, she spent a considerable amount of time talking with MedReach, an organization that does medical missions and outreach in Africa. She learned that MedReach is leading a medical missions trip to Tanzania this summer.
Sunny is a young lady from South Sudan who we have mentored for the past eight years. She fled with her family as a refugee to America when she was a young child. Sunny, who is 17 years old and in the 10th grade, has also expressed interest in the medical field, including medical missions.
After much thought and prayer, God has opened the door for Abby, Sunny and Scott to join MedReach this summer.
The trip is June 4 – 19th. We will be on a team of 24 other medical professionals and adults (only three teens will be on this mission – Abby, Sunny and one other). We will be involved in medical care / evangelism, hygiene education and kids and family ministry. We will also be showing the Jesus Film. We will be quite busy.
Your Important Role
Short-term mission trips change lives. While it is uncertain how God will use this trip in Abby and Sunny’s lives, we do know that they will be changed forever. We do know that God will use us in Tanzania.
Could you help through your prayers and support?
Please pray as the Spirit leads. Please pray for good health, financial provision, life changing conversations of faith, healing for the sick, renewal for hurting, team humility and unity…May His will be done.
We are funding this trip through The Refuge. Donation information on the left sidebar of this website. Please give as God leads and provides.
We are excited about how God will use this trip! We appreciate your prayerful consideration to be a part of it. We also will be busy with other ministries this summer. We will keep up updated primarily through email.
Love in Christ,
Scott, Abby, Sunny and our families