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The Refuge
PO Box 178
Waleska, GA 30183
(404) 790-7917
www.therefugelife.org
   

Purpose

Jesus First

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.

Sorting Through Giving Options

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.

Mission to Tanzania

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.

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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.  

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The Assignment

The trip is June 4 – 19thWe 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,

05271201Scott, Abby, Sunny and our families

Family Focus – More than a Touch

Scott has been involved in running a summer camp for many years.   We had the same kids all summer for eight weeks.  We loved on the kids, counseled the kids and taught the kids.  The short-term impact was tremendous.  But after many years of doing camp, one inevitable thing happens when camp was over – the kids go home.   Some went back home to parents who were loving, caring and engaged.  Many went home to parents who were not.   And all the kids went home to a community with poverty, high crime, gang culture, under-supported teachers and schools.

After running summer camp and after-school tutoring for several years, we were still seeing kids down the road end up as teen mothers, in prison, in gangs, dropping out of school and in trouble.   The greatest impact we have had in our ministry is among those where we touched the lives of families or became like surrogate parents to kids.   Among the kids that we “adopted” several years ago, eight of them have professed Christ in the past two years!  They are all growing in their faith through Bible studies among their peers.  Yes, we still have parents who are not engaged in the kids’ lives, but it seems the kids are on a good path.  It has made us realize we need to focus more on families – and deeper with the kids.   Hence the need for a more family focused ministry where we help kids and their families in every area of their life, not just over the summer or for homework help.     Our mission is families experiencing abundant life in a growing relationship with Jesus.  This is why we do what we do.