The following is an update from CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter
Last week the NYTimes Magazine debuted their virtual technology with a moving story/film about refugees in Bekka Valley, Lebanon, urban Ukraine and central Africa.
Before the week was up a Russian plane exploded in the sky, Beirut, Lebanon was bombed and the autumn night in Paris was shattered by massacre in her stately streets .
In each context, we feel the frustration and impotence of helplessness in the face of such heinous craving, destructive violence, and malevolent delusions.
We deeply lament the pain and sorrow of innocents. The echoing question reverberates among people of goodwill, “What can we do?”
One continuing blessing of our Fellowship is the close and God given connection to dear friends among us who have responded to Gods call as CBF field personnel to work in hostile and difficult places in the world carrying with them a part of our love and support as the presence of Christ. These are our colleagues and pilgrims from our churches who are already on site, immersed in global friendships and compassionate ministry sharing the love of Christ in word and deed.
It took a while but we heard from David and Julie Brown in Paris. They are fine, but sent this moving request for prayers.
We’re fine. Prayers please :
- for those that have lost loved ones.
- for those who do not know if their loved ones are ok.
- for those that are injured.
- for the first responders, those caring for the injured, for the authorities.
- for peace.
The Browns lead Mosaic, an organization in France which helps connect French Protestant churches with immigrants and immigrant churches formed by a host of different ethnic groups.
Just two days prior to the events in Paris unfolding two suicide bombs exploded in Lebanon. We had not heard from the Chaouki and Maha Boulos to determine their circumstances, but their son, Joel, living near Charlotte, N.C., contacted us early Saturday morning. He said his folks were fine, and living/working far away from the explosions which happened in the South of Beirut, Lebanon. Chaouki and Maha live in the northern section of Beirut and minister much in the Bekka valley among Syrian refugees. They work primarily among Syrian mothers and children living in camps in Lebanon.
Alicia and Jeff Lee continue daily work among refugees coming into and through Macedonia and have been the center for believer-led coalition work for this ministry there. CBF partners in Croatia, such as the Baptist Union there, are working in government-organized refugee camps and have received financial aid from CBF.
Janee Angel and her Syrian husband, Hary, continue to reach out to Arab-speaking immigrants and refugees coming into Belgium from their home in Antwerp, Belgium.
Strasbourg and Barcelona
Joel and Tiffne Whitley in Strassbourg, France, as well as Matt and Michelle Norman in the Barcelona, Spain area continue their work to assist immigrants coming up to Spain from Sub-Saharan Africa and living in Spain and France.
And, less we forget, Gennady and Mina Podgaisky minister with others among internally displaced refugees in Ukraine as the war in the eastern part of that country continues to cause disruption and displacement.
All of these field personnel are sent from our churches together and serve among the most vulnerable with much love and devotion. They are good news each time they encounter people in need.
France, and the rest of Western Europe has been shaken by these bloody events of Nov. 13. I sincerely hope this will not lead to a rejection of desperate refugees seeking safety. This is my hope for our country as well as we ponder how to be of help.
Thank you for your support of the CBF Offering for Global Missions which supports this gospel work in the midst of crisis and in days long before and after a headline.
Grace in all corners,