Volume 7

~ News From "Your Birthing Family" ~

Issue 8

 

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Charis Around the World

Tidbits From Ebony
by Elizabeth Carmichael



This Land Is Not My Land -- Giving Birth as an Illegal Refugee

** Just as a reminder to the Charis family and any of our readers, my views and musings may seem political in nature at times, but are truly driven simply by personal experience and reflections on my interpretation of the Word of God.  My words should not be read as a representation of Charis Childbirth.  Please read them simply as tidbits of my life as a member of Charis.  And, if there is any disagreement or offense, please accept my regret for that.   Thank you, EC **

Did you know that some of the most vibrant and powerful ministries around the world are to representatives of unreached people groups who have sought refugees in open countries where followers of Jesus have the opportunity to love, serve and disciple them without fear of persecution by the government??  Some of these refugees have legally immigrated to the lands where they can experience freedom to search out the truths of Christ, and some of them are there illegally.

I have heard many people in the United States refer to Europe as "Godless."  That may well be so.  It depends on WHAT your "god" is.  But, I assure you, the Creator God is not swayed or thwarted by political systems, personalities or social cultures that either deny or ignore Him.  He is VERY present in Europe and His people shine all the more brightly when they are in the minority, rather than among millions who nominally follow Him.

One of the most powerful ways I have seen our Father at work in Europe, and in America for that matter, is through followers of Jesus loving and helping refugees from all over the world.  There are many ministries like this in our own land, but there is one quite close to my heart that is in a major city in Europe.  People from all over the world come to that city.  I have personally known people in Ebony who have been detained and deported from that city--sent BACK to Ebony!  (All I can say is, don't try to travel on a fake passport, guys!)  The city is a major historical center for much of Christian and World History.  From thousands and thousands of years ago, our father was at work there, building His kingdom.  And, He still is today!

Imagine working there as a United States citizen.  Imagine having to learn the language of the country and also the language of the refugees you want to minister to.  Imagine needing to partner, not only with other American ministers, but also with Europeans and Middle Easterners who follow Jesus and want to help lead this ministry to the poorest of the poor.  It is a beautiful conglomeration of nations coming together to reach those who are brave enough to seek refuge outside the bounds of oppressive nations.   That's not to say every refuge is a pure, pitiful soul who just needs someone to love them and then they will rise above all the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual baggage they carry with them!  No, I wouldn't be so naive as to give you that impression.  But, God's grace toward us didn't depend upon our worthiness of it and neither should our extension of grace toward them.

I have seen people's lives changed drastically and have seen them come to reflect the image of our Savior so clearly during their journey as a refugee.  One lady I know was deeply depressed when, during her time as a refugee, she became pregnant with her second child.  This beautiful lady made it through her pregnancy while living as a refugee with her husband and 12 year old daughter.  She had NO prenatal care.  Only a consultation with me very early on in the pregnancy to discuss nutrition and mental health issues in hopes that she would take care of herself well.

When it came time for this precious lady, who is our Sister, to deliver, she had no paperwork, so she was terrified to go to the hospital.  She finally did and a healthy baby girl was born.  Because the country she is in provides free emergency medical care to refugees with no questions asked, the lady was fine.  Her child, however, is not a citizen of any nation.  What will that mean for her? I don't know.

Because of their life situation and because of some pre-existing issues, this mother has maintained a pretty severe level of post partum depression.  She is not able to seek any help except that of Christians around her who are seeking to minister to refugees.  Would you please take some time today to pray for her?  Pray that Jesus would Himself put into her body the same things that medicine or psychological counseling would.  Pray that He would be her source, her wisdom and her treasure.  Pray for the health of her family and that they would grow strong in His Word, able to minister themselves to other refugees around them.

I found this site today.  I hope you like it:   Seven Bible Principles For The Care And Nurture Of Refugees
From: www.salvationarmy.org.au

You won't find the word "refugee" in the Bible.  But you will find refugees!

Some of the most important people in scriptures were refugees.  Jesus and his parents slipped into Egypt to escape Herod's infanticide.  Moses and the Israelites were delivered from Egyptian tyranny into the promised land.  Early church believers poured out of Jerusalem to save their lives and consequently the gospel reached new corners of the world.  The Apostle John was exiled on Patmos and wrote the book of Revelation.  All fled their homeland because they were singled out by leaders within their own country as targets for persecution.  In other words, they were refugees!

Time after time, God has taken the tragedy of forced migration and used it to work out His purposes.  He took extraordinary interest in refugees.  He still does today.  He's working out plans and purposes for Cambodians who have been fleeing their country for ten years, for the Mozambicans running for their lives in Africa, and for the Cubans who fled Castro and made it to the shores of Florida.

God has not left us to guess as a nation or as His people how we are to treat these people so close to His heart.  The crowning passage that declares God's concern is in Matthew 25.  When we stand before our Lord on the day of judgment, He'll ask us how we treated people who graphically fit the description of a refugee.   Strangers, the hungry and thirsty, those in need of clothes, those who are in prison, and those who are sick - each characteristic strikingly parallel to a twentieth century refugee.

Then the King will say to those on the right, "Come you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.  Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."  Matthew 25;34-36,40

Numerous Bible passages describe how God wants us to treat refugees - the strangers, the poor, the aliens, and the sojourners in our midst.  Seven key principles describe God's abiding
concern for refugees.

1. God loves, protects, and provides for refugees.

He watches over them.  Ps. 146:9.
He provides refuge for them, a shelter from the storm, and shade from the heat.  Ps. 9:9, Is.25:4.
He shows no partiality to natives of a country.  Refugees and natives have equal status is His sight.  Deut. 10:16-19, Num.15:16.
He defends their cause, providing food and clothing for them.  Deut. 10:16-19.
Jesus announced that the essence of his ministry was to help and serve people in refugee-like situations.  Luke 4:16-2

2. God expects his people to love refugees and to give freely of their resources to help them.

Love refugees as you love yourselves.  Lev. 19:34, Deut 10:16-19.
Treat refugees fairly and stand up for them when others mistreat them.  Ps. 82:4, Ex. 22:21, Lev. 19:33, Zech. 7:9-10, Deut. 23:15.
Share your food, clothing, and shelter with them.  Is. 58:6-11, Lk. 3:10, Mt. 25:31-46.
Invite them into your homes.  Heb. 13:2. Is. 58:6-11, Luke 14:12-13.
Set aside part of your income to help them.  Lev. 19:10, 23:22, Deut. 24:19-21, 14:28-29, 26:12, Gal. 2:10, Ja. 1:27.
Sell your possessions to help them if need be.  Lk. 12:33, Mt.19:21.
Encourage them.  Is. 1:17.

3. God views our compassionate treatment of refugees as a fundamental indicator of true Christianity.

When believers stand before Him on judgment day He will ask them how they treated refugees.  Luke 14:12-13, Matthew 25:31-46.

4. God expects the country to rescue refugees, to take them in, and to treat them just like her native born.

Rescue refugees from persecuting nations.  Is. 16:3-5.
Give shelter to them from their destroyers.  Is. 16:3-5.
Never return refugees to their oppressors.  Let them live with you.  Deut. 23:15.
Give them a choice as to where they can live among you.  Deut. 23:15.
Treat refugees just like you do your own citizens through your laws and regulations.  Treat them fairly.  Lev. 19:34, 24:22, Num. 15:16.
Set aside part of your income to help them.  Deut. 14:28-29, 26:12

5. God promises to bless the family and nation who take care of refugees.

He blesses them and the work of their hands.  Deut. 24:19-21.
He answers their prayer.  Is. 58:6-11.
His glory is their rear guard.  Ps. 41:1-3, Is. 58:6-11.
He strengthens them physically.  Is. 58:6-11, Ps. 41:1-3.
He satisfies their needs.  Prov. 28:27, Is. 58:6-11.
He protects them.  Ps. 41:1-3.
He will repay them at the resurrection of the righteous.  Lk. 14:12-13, Mt. 25:31-46

6. God promises to purse the nation and people who mistreat refugees.

The judgment and curse of the Lord is on a nation that withholds justice from the refugee.  Deut. 27:19, 24:17, Ez.22:9f, Mal 3:5, Ez. 16:49f
The Lord will not answer their prayers.  Pr. 21:13
He who closes his/her ears to refugees will receive many curses.  Pr. 28:27
You show contempt toward God if you oppress the poor.  Pr. 10:31.
A nation's right to its land is predicated upon treating refugees well.  Jer. 5:5-7

7. God views our care for refugees as a concrete expression of love and service to him.

  When we take care of refugees, we take care of the Lord.  Mt. 25.

Used with permission from Joel Vestal (founder/president) Dream of Justice

Much love, as always,
EC

Our International Charis Family
Your stories from around the world touch us and we pray for your safety.
Thanks, Love and Blessings to every one of you!


 
'Behold, I will bring them from the north country, And gather them from the ends of the earth,
 Among  them the blind and the lame, The woman with child and The one who labors with child,  together,
 A great throng shall return there...And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the LORD.'
 Jeremiah 31:8, 14
~~~
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August 2012