Josue Valerio is the director of the Center for Missional Engagement.
The Bible has different stories of migration in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Some of the examples of migration in the Bible include the migration of Adam and Eve from the garden, the migration of Abraham’s call to leave his family and homeland, the mass migration known as the Exodus, the migration of fugitives (Jacob), Joseph’s migration as a slave, the migration due to famine (Joseph’s family), the migration of certain types of workers and exiles (Babylonian captivity), the migration due to family relations and loss of family (Ruth), migration of the persecuted church (the early church), migration of missionaries like the apostle Paul and fellow workers, and many others. Today we are witnessing the movements of people in our world, and it is an opportunity for the church to practice caring, hospitality and sharing the gospel with others. We are continuing with the story of migration as a church as we witness the migration of refugees, prisoners of war, workers, families and children, deportees, slave workers, victims of wars and natural disasters, missionaries and others.
Among the migrants there are those who are people of God and those who are not yet God’s people. God is sovereign and He keeps moving his people and has a purpose in the movement of people. We as the church are a migrant community through persecution as well as by commissioning. Today, we see the church from Latin America and from Africa introducing or reintroducing the gospel to Europe and other parts of the Western world. In the U.S., many of the immigrants who are coming from Central America as refugees are also followers of Christ. Other immigrants from Latin America or other parts of the world are not yet God’s people. So, we as Texas Baptists have an opportunity to partner with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are immigrants to minister to human and spiritual needs of the immigrant population.
I remember after the Vietnam war when immigrants from that part of the world came to Texas.
Texas Baptist churches ministered to the needs of these immigrants, and many came to faith in Christ. Twenty to thirty years later the children of these immigrants who were reached by our churches were attending college. During interviews for collegiate summer missions, Go Now Missions, I met many of them who came from those families who were reached for Christ by our Texas Baptist churches. Let us take advantage of the opportunities the Lord is giving us to minister and to reach the immigrants in our generation. He has a purpose for all of us during this time in history.
For information on how to serve immigrants contact RiverMinistry[at]texasbaptists.org or visit txb.org/riverministry. Josue Valerio or members of his team would be glad to help direct you in ways you can serve.