Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Pile of Mismatched Scraps

In late January, the 29th to be exact, I (Dianne) did something I had never done before.  I stood on the Arkansas state capitol steps and participated in a political rally.  It was a protest against the President's executive order banning travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries.  I was there to show support and to hear stories from those affected by the order.  One statement stood out to me in particular, "I know what it is like to wake up every day in a country that does not want you, that despises you."
Joyce Elliott, an Arkansas state Senator was describing her experience as an African-American in the United States, in the south.  But she could also be describing the experience of the Roma peoples we work with in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, or the Syrian refugee, or the US-born Hispanic child or the Iranian-born doctor with a green card.  These people who are looked at with suspicion, distrust, and contempt because they look or sound different.  The "Others" among us.

I can never imagine how this feels because my birthright brings me a certain amount of privilege.  So I use my privilege to call attention to the injustice turned on these bearers of the Image of God - dark or light skin; bi, straight, trans; Atheist, Christian, Muslim; rich or poor.  The distinctions we humans make don't matter to God.  We are all created in God's Image and reflect the Image, marred as it is, to one another.  When we limit who we know and interact with, we limit our knowledge of the Creator reflected through them.  Our diversity is beautiful to God and through our diversity we learn more about God.

I visited my Aunt recently and she showed me a quilt she is working on.  The top was pieced by her mother/my grandmother over forty years ago from bits and pieces of fabric from old clothes.  To most of us, we would have seen a pile of mismatched scraps not worth much.  My grandma saw something beautiful and useful. Our world is much like that pile of mismatched scraps.  But when we look at one another through God's lens, we might catch a glimpse of a beautiful quilt.  A quilt whose pieced-together fabric is warm, useful, and full of love.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Mission Bites

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

Mission Bites are designed to be dropped into worship bulletins, newsletters and other materials to educate congregations on the impact of their support.
Our Church is pleased to support CBF Global Missions in moments like these where bearing witness to Jesus Christ takes form through providing resources to Romany believers who are eager to learn more.
"November made the seventh time that Dutch Baptists have flown to Romania to teach at the Gypsy Smith School in Bucharest. The school meets four times a year for one-week intensive training. We resource coordinators do not have the fun of teaching these enthusiastic Romany believers ourselves, but it gives us great satisfaction to link people who have those teaching skills with leaders eager to learn; to see Christians cooperating across national, ethnic and linguistic lines to advance the Kingdom."

- Keith Holmes and Mary van Rheenen, CBF field personnel in Europe
Be sure to also sign up to receive fellowship! weekly e-newsletter, which includes updates on all the wonderful ministries of CBF and our partners.
We treasure your support and prayers! Please contact me if you have any questions.
Grace and Peace, 
Ryan Clark, D.Min. 
Church Engagement Manager
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
160 Clairemont Ave., Suite 500
Decatur, GA 30030
770.220.1611  office
404.545.5003  mobile

Friday, February 10, 2017

Getting Better in Basque Country

Note the poster outside this church in northwest Spain. Can you identify the two languages? Yes, one is indeed Spanish. The other is Euskara, known to outsiders as Basque.  It's one of the oldest languages in Europe, unrelated to any other living language. 
Keith was working with Basque believers in this church to record the New Testament in their language. 
Ever had your tummy feel funny when in a very different place? Keith's got so funny that he ended up spending a week in the hospital. Which was not funny.
He's been out of the hospital for a few days now. But he needs to go home, see his regular doctor, and recuperate. So yesterday, he packed up the studio in this church. He hopes to feel better in a few weeks. One way or another, he wants to make sure that this recording project is completed. Because Basque people prefer Euskara. As you can see from the poster, their language is on top. (And no, I don't know what the poster says. Do any of you?)