Like most of us, the Central Americans’ caravan through Mexico is mind-boggling. The desperate families, rivers being crossed, the lack of food, the misery…all spell desperation and hope for something better. And then there’s the living quarters that await them, the long lines, and the “time-line” of years that await them all together overwhelm our sensibilities.

My small group (and some hubbies) attended a World Relief forum on this subject last week. We were asked to give, volunteer, or be an advocate to the cause of caring for the stranger. As Christians it’s about understanding, growing our heart of compassion, and living up to the themes of our Christian faith….in every book of the Bible, (practically every chapter) there is some encouragement to reach out to those who are poor, disenfranchised, lost, or wandering. As a follower of Christ, I ask myself, ‘am I accepting the challenge that the Bible gives me to really care for the “stranger”?

World Relief staff member and author of Welcoming the Stranger, Matt Soerens, gives a current look at the issue in his book. World Relief stands behind this conviction:

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Here is the follow-up email to those who attended the forum, full of links to what you, like I, may be curious about. A lawyer present at this forum reminded us that the law is the law….there won’t be any drastic changes in the processes at the border:

Last week World Relief sponsored an educational evening, “Spotlight on Asylum Seekers at the Border” at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Naperville. Thank you to everyone who attended to hear stories about asylum seekers at our southern border. We wanted to share some additional resources with you so that you can continue learning about asylum seekers and praying for them.

If you were unable to attend the Spotlight last week, we hope these resources will help fill you in as well.

Factsheet on Asylum Seekers: We shared this factsheet with those who attended the Spotlight. Here is a digital version you can share with friends and family.

Asylum in the United States: This is a very thorough explanation of the asylum process and key statistics from the American Immigration Council.

The Parable of the Caravan: This article by Kent Annan asks us to think about the migrant caravan in a way that allows it to “reveal areas of ours lives where we need discipleship in the way of Christ.”

Today’s Migrant Flow is Different: This story from The Atlantic explains the difficult situations that are causing Central Americans to flee their countries.

Advocate for Asylum Seekers: Consider contacting your Members of Congress, whether over the phone, by email, or on social media, to tell them that you want the U.S. to uphold its asylum laws and continue welcoming families who are fleeing persecution.

We hope these resources are helpful to you. If you have any questions or are looking for other specific resources, you can reply to this email to let us know.

One further addition here:

Many of us don’t have reason to pay attention to the Lausanne Movement. Lausanne, in my eyes, is a watchdog group that teaches and keeps our evangelical world committed to the Biblical orthodoxy of the Evangelical Movement in the world. I attended the Cape Town World Congress on Evangelism in 2010 when the 6,000 chosen delegates from around the world were introduced to The Cape Town Commitment which was agreed upon by hundreds of evangelical organizations and institutions of higher learning.

I was sent an email today that reminded me of the section of the Cape Town Commitment that is titled, 

7. We love God’s world.

B) We love the world of nations and cultures. ‘From one man, God made all nations of humanity, to live on the whole face of the earth.’ Ethnic diversity is the gift of God in creation and will be preserved in the new creation, when it will be liberated from our fallen divisions and rivalry. Our love for all peoples reflects God’s promise to bless all nations on earth and God’s mission to create for himself a people drawn from every tribe, language, nation and people. We must love all that God has chosen to bless, which includes all cultures. Historically, Christian mission, though flawed by destructive failures, has been instrumental in protecting and preserving indigenous cultures and their languages. Godly love, however, also includes critical discernment, for all cultures show not only positive evidence of the image of God in human lives, but also the negative fingerprints of Satan and sin. We long to see the gospel embodied and embedded in all cultures, redeeming them from within so that they may display the glory of God and the radiant fullness of Christ. We look forward to the wealth, glory and splendour of all cultures being brought into the city of God – redeemed and purged of all sin, enriching the new creation.[25]

Such love for all peoples demands that we reject the evils of racism and ethnocentrism, and treat every ethnic and cultural group with dignity and respect, on the grounds of their value to God in creation and redemption.[26]

Such love also demands that we seek to make the gospel known among every people and culture everywhere. No nation, Jew or Gentile, is exempt from the scope of the great commission. Evangelism is the outflow of hearts that are filled with the love of God for those who do not yet know him. We confess with shame that there are still very many peoples in the world who have never yet heard the message of God’s love in Jesus Christ. We renew the commitment that has inspired The Lausanne Movement from its beginning, to use every means possible to reach all peoples with the gospel.

C) We love the world’s poor and suffering. The Bible tells us that the Lord is loving toward all he has made, upholds the cause of the oppressed, loves the foreigner, feeds the hungry, sustains the fatherless and widow.[27] The Bible also shows that God wills to do these things through human beings committed to such action. God holds responsible especially those who are appointed to political or judicial leadership in society,[28] but all God’s people are commanded – by the law and prophets, Psalms and Wisdom, Jesus and Paul, James and John – to reflect the love and justice of God in practical love and justice for the needy.[29]

Such love for the poor demands that we not only love mercy and deeds of compassion, but also that we do justice through exposing and opposing all that oppresses and exploits the poor. ‘We must not be afraid to denounce evil and injustice wherever they exist.’[30] We confess with shame that on this matter we fail to share God’s passion, fail to embody God’s love, fail to reflect God’s character and fail to do God’s will. We give ourselves afresh to the promotion of justice, including solidarity and advocacy on behalf of the marginalized and oppressed. We recognize such struggle against evil as a dimension of spiritual warfare that can only be waged through the victory of the cross and resurrection, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and with constant prayer.

D) We love our neighbours as ourselves. Jesus called his disciples to obey this commandment as the second greatest in the law, but then he radically deepened the demand (from the same chapter), ‘love the foreigner as yourself’ into ‘love your enemies’. [31]

Such love for our neighbours demands that we respond to all people out of the heart of the gospel, in obedience to Christ’s command and following Christ’s example. This love for our neighbours embraces people of other faiths, and extends to those who hate us, slander and persecute us, and even kill us. Jesus taught us to respond to lies with truth, to those doing evil with acts of kindness, mercy and forgiveness, to violence and murder against his disciples with self-sacrifice, in order to draw people to him and to break the chain of evil. We emphatically reject the way of violence in the spread of the gospel, and renounce the temptation to retaliate with revenge against those who do us wrong. Such disobedience is incompatible with the example and teaching of Christ and the New Testament.[32] At the same time, our loving duty towards our suffering neighbours requires us to seek justice on their behalf through proper appeal to legal and state authorities who function as God’s servants in punishing wrongdoers.[33]