By Tommy Deal
Several weeks ago, I became involved in the response to the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. Most of these children are under the age of 17. And, many of these refugees have endured a long and dangerous trek through Mexico. While some of the children crossing the border are unaccompanied, many are with their mothers.
We as Christians must ask ourselves how to best represent our Lord and Savior to them. The answer is simple: help meet their needs.
The real solution is far from simple though. It is complex. This “problem” is not just a Texas problem either. We in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship are lending our support and resources to those in the area, including CBF field personnel, CBF of Texas, Buckner Children and Family Services and Texas Baptist Disaster Recovery.
I recently had a lengthy conversation with Courtney Allen, minister of community ministries and missions at First Baptist Church of Dalton, Ga. This past spring, 30 teen refugees arrived in Dalton and the local public school system had to devise a plan to educate these students on the spot.
Most did not speak English (or Spanish) and did not have any past educational experiences. The question then posed to FBC Dalton was, “What can the church offer”?
This is the same question that we are currently confronting at the border.
For the immediate present, each church and ministry group should begin researching what needs there may be. This crisis is not going to be localized to those communities along the border, and we need to be ready to respond.
Texas Baptist Disaster Recovery has made a request for specific items. See their website for additional information. Please only send items requested and be mindful that this list is fluid and continues to change.
CBF has created a fund to respond to these ongoing needs — CBF CARES (Children and Refugee Emergency Support). CBF CARES will go to support our churches and partners, assisting them in meeting the needs of their communities. As unaccompanied children and refugee families are transported away from border areas to other cities, additional responses will be needed. This fund will help make those efforts possible.
Give to CBF CARES online here or mail a check to:
“CBF” with Acct. 17027 in the memo line to:
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
P.O. Box 102972
Atlanta, GA 30368-2972
I encourage each of you as ambassadors in your congregations to be proactive in identifying the needs in your communities which only the church can address. This may be something that one church cannot do along. That’s why we cooperate together as a Fellowship!
For more information on how you or your congregation can help, contact Tommy Deal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tommy Deal is U.S. Disaster Response Director for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.