“When a refugee friend came to us to ask for a job, we called our church. They hired him as a janitor on the spot. When we found out that man’s wife made jewelry, our church bought the supplies for her to crochet these gorgeous necklaces.
“We watched that quiet woman become a leader and teacher for other Hill Country Hill Triber artisans within months; the money she earned and the respect that she felt from using her gifts to support her family made a difference in her life.
“And so, that Burmese husband and wife brought their friends to our church. Thirty to fifty Burmese refugees, dressed in traditional hand-woven clothes, sit in our mauve pews each week beside suburban Texas families in their Sunday best. We look at each other and wonder, ‘Who but God could have made this happen?’
” The truth is, my church is pretty average”
So begins a blog post by Rachel Held Evans. There are two reasons I wanted to pass this story along (Evans’ posts goes on to make some important points, and is worth reading.)
First, church people from all types and ages of churches do some extraordinarily loving things. I’ll never forget the small church I pastored in Talent, Oregon. During the early 1970’s, Talent Friends Church sponsored three refugee families from South Vietnam. “Sponsoring” meant becoming responsible for their housing, food, and other basic expenses. It also meant training them to live in America, and helping them navigate the social services that were available to them.
A small church of 80 people became a new life of freedom for 20 people of different color, language and religion. Where does this happen except in a church?
Second, I like Evans’ post because it reminds us that when churches extend themselves to marginalized people, they position themselves for extraordinary growth. God wants to bring the poor and forgotten into his church. When we help the poor and remember the forgotten, we open ourselves to the very best of God’s future.
What extraordinary acts of kindness has your church engaged in?