Mission

Home/Mission

Supporting Caminante During a Pandemic

Thank you for your support in 2021 of our Region’s ministry to Caminante.

Because of your generosity, we sent $9000 for our annual contribution to Caminante and another $3000 to help Caminante with Covid related expenses.

COVID-19 continues to devastate jobs in the tourist business in the seaside town of Boca Chica where Caminante is located.

In addition to education and social services, Caminante is now also providing food, medical and personal hygiene supplies to families they serve.

COVID has made the work of Caminante more difficult, more expensive and more urgent. And recent hurricanes only increase the problems that Caminante addresses. Because of this, we continue to raise money to help Caminante.

Click here to download the Caminante letter.

2021-09-09T10:27:50-05:00Sep 9, 2021|Faith in Action, Mission|Comments Off on Supporting Caminante During a Pandemic

Pray with a Global Ministry Partner

God, in times of distress and confusion like this, human beings ask the origin and the purpose of calamity.

O Lord, Covid-19 seems to appear to us as a wake-up call for your church. So far, it has caused a lot of fear and anxiety.  All economic, financial, and health systems in literally every society have been challenged.

Lord, we humbly come before you to seek wisdom as the church and society have been challenged to rethink the way we live and cooperate, as well as our responsibilities to the world.  Let your church be reminded of the connectedness and interdependence of the world now more than ever before.

Almighty God, we lift up to you all health professionals who risk their lives to save others. We come to applaud and appreciate the gift of knowledge as scientists are working hard to find a cure and vaccine.  We also thank you for the fact that the role of faith has also been lifted, with the notion of dependence to you being laid bare.

Everlasting God, in nations, cities, and villages where the church is present, let us be reminded to take seriously its call to be in solidarity with the most vulnerable.  The poor, homeless, unemployed, refugees, and displaced people suffer more than those whose economic and social situation enables them to fend for themselves better.  We remember them in our prayers.

Lord, with the lockdowns we hear about a dramatic increase in some places of gender-based violence against women and children.  People with disabilities are not cared for properly, and those who have recovered from the disease face stigma in their own communities.  We cry to you for help.

We thank you Lord, for what the church is doing across the globe for those in need.  Let this situation be a wake-up call for your church in its mission of witnessing love and care for humanity.

God, hear our prayer, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

2021-09-09T10:08:32-05:00Sep 9, 2021|Mission|Comments Off on Pray with a Global Ministry Partner

Praying with Global Mission Partners: Colvins

Heavenly Father,

We ask for strength and guidance during this time of the Covid-19 pandemic. As all of our lives have been touched, altered, and saddened by sickness and loss. Give us the assurance that YOU are ultimately in control and that you have our lives in the palm of your hand.

As we go about our daily lives of physical and social distancing, I pray that we are actually drawn closer in faith and love for each other.

For our healthcare workers, I ask for a special blessing as they put into action the skills and knowledge given to thme as they work dailiy to care for our loved ones.

In your holy name.

Amen.

by Debbie Colvin

Radiant God, who continues to bring light as Covid-19 covers the planet, we thank you that you do not abandon us.  We are grateful for your rays of hope that we see in the face of those who speak and act with empathy.

We offer our prayers of comfort for those who suffer, our prayers of support for those who tend to the health of loved ones, our prayers of encouragement to those who agonize over loss of income, and prayers of solace to those who mourn.

Particularly in Ghana, we give thanks for your servant and president, Nana Akufo-Addo, who speaks with compassion and hope as he tends to the health of his nation.  We are grateful for the women and men who give of themselves not only to provide for the sick, but those who simply share words of comfort and pray each day.  We rejoice in the hospitality of the Ghanaian people who, even in this time of struggle, openly care for each brother and sister regardless of race or spiritual persuasion.

God of light, our faith is in you that you will again bring full illumination to Ghana and to the world.  We have hope that in this new light we will see more clearly and love more nearly.

Amen.

by Larry Colvin

2021-08-05T14:09:52-05:00Aug 5, 2021|Mission|Comments Off on Praying with Global Mission Partners: Colvins

To Be As Generous and Loving as Children

By Rev. Mary Heath, Chair
Commission on Refugee & Immigration Ministries

On July 23rd, 2020, I received a text at 8:07 from my friend in Del Rio, Texas. We had been emailing and talking for about a year. I started connecting with border organizations when the Oklahoma Commission on Refugee and Immigration Ministries began. This organization in Del Rio at the time and for some time had been the busiest.

My friend asked if she could call and of course I said yes. She asked if Oklahoma Disciples were ready to take in a family. She had a large family that would be more difficult to place but thought about us immediately. When she told the family, it might be a little difficult to be placed, their reply was “God is good, God will provide.” My friend believed this family was just right for us, and we for them. I told her we would sponsor this family and she was thrilled! She knew she had called the right organization and that they would arrive at 11:45 pm that evening. I told her I had to get busy and would text when the family was safe in our care.

The fact my friend cares so much about the people she helps is the main reason I developed the friendship. She works hard without pay to give men, women, and children a chance at a new life and hope for a future. She takes photos with them, remembers them, and checks in on their progress and wellbeing. My friend has been working night and day lately.

I frantically began making phone calls, that is the way processing works. The organizations have to get the families sent to sponsors very quickly. I began thinking of everything I needed to do and everything the family needed. I wasn’t exactly panicked, but close to it.

Thankfully, many Disciples stepped up immediately and offered assistance of all kinds. One particular Disciple did more for me and the family than I could have imagined. The apartment for the family was not ready and we could not have taken them so late at night anyway. In only a few hours Jennifer Gallaway and her family arrived at Edmond Trinity Christian Church with air mattresses, along with complete bedding and a stuffed toy chosen especially for each child. Jennifer’s amazing family with huge hearts also brought toiletries and snacks for everyone. (The teenage girl’s favorite lotion is still guava body lotion from Bath & Bodyworks that was bought especially for her.)

But this was not all. There are many special moments in ministry, and there are some moments in ministry when God’s presence is fully recognized. There are moments when people know what it is to follow Jesus and it brings me to tears. This was such a moment.

Jennifer’s grade school-age daughter and nephew broke into their piggy banks to bring the family money. I stood there for some time before I could say anything. And I wasn’t the only person standing in our church nursery with tears. God is good. God will provide.

It was hard to find the words that could express how that kind and generous act by children made me feel. I will remember that moment for as long as I am on earth, and maybe even after. Part of the money given by the children went to buy a dress for the refugee mom. She was so exited to own another dress! This is the dress she wore to church at Edmond Trinity on their first Sunday in Oklahoma.

When we picked up the family at the Oklahoma City bus station, they were exhausted. They had taken a 13-hour bus ride with three children ages 12, 4, and 3. Just imagine that. And the mother was almost eight months pregnant. She had not yet seen a doctor. So, my husband Don and I picked them up with two cars and borrowed car seats.

They did not know us. They did not know the place they were. They did not know what to expect or what would happen. They did not know how they would make it in this place or to what extent we would help. I finally got around to asking them if it was scary to have to trust in total strangers? They replied, “Yes, but God is good, God will provide. We trust in God.”

This is still the response when we have hit a bump, and there have been several. The system is not set up to help families who want to live here. In fact, it is set up specifically so that it is very difficult and frustrating.

Our family has great faith and are devout Christians who are so interesting to talk to on subjects like religion, politics, faith, and the Bible. Everyone in the family is really sharp and funny. Time with them is very enjoyable. They believe everything will turn out the way in which God wishes, and they trust this, and they are quite right.

God will provide, and it is through good Disciples with kind and compassionate hearts like Jennifer, her family, and you. We have had wonderful support throughout our Region, however more is needed. This family has to be totally supported by us and a couple of small African churches in Oklahoma City.

Donations to the Region for the care of the family is greatly appreciated. Volunteers to help out with the family are greatly appreciated. Please prayerfully consider the situation they are in as are many families, and give what you are able in funds and time. And God will indeed provide, when we can be as generous and loving as children. Click here to learn more about Oklahoma’s Refugee & Immigration Ministries.

2021-06-30T11:57:16-05:00Jun 30, 2021|Mission|Comments Off on To Be As Generous and Loving as Children

A Very Christmas Narrative

Refugee & Immigrant Ministries

This following story is given to us by the inspiration of Rev. Daniel U’Ren (Western Oaks Christian Church, OKC) and his servanthood along with that of Rev. Colton Lott (First Christian Church El Reno) and First Christian Church Norman member, Neil Johnson. We ask you to consider contributing to our Christmas in July Project.

Imagine a young couple with no place to go, adhering to a directive dictated by politics and necessity. Following a northern route, when they arrive there is no place for them to stay. They are placed in a refugee camp where their child is born. As they fled for their lives, wise ones following a heavenly star brought them gifts of food, shelter, and a way to safety, a place to be welcomed and loved. Those called “wise” have done so because they chose to do the right thing. To give a family a chance, to bring hope to their lives, and to this child. Born a refugee and escaping persecution, this child is given the opportunity to explore unknown potential. At Christmas we celebrate the Christ child who, too, was born in the lowliest of places, far from home, and his family would soon flee for their own safety. What better gift to give to Christ than to help a family such as this?

The Generosity of Three Oklahoma Disciples

A young refugee couple with an infant arrived in Fort Worth, TX and needed to check in with Oklahoma City ICE. They had no one to help them. Neil agreed to not only drive them to their appointment in OKC, but to drive to Fort Worth and pick them up, saving them from a very long bus ride with an infant in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. Daniel and Colton without hesitation agreed to find them a place to stay and supply food. Through the generosity of three Oklahoma Disciples, and your generous donations to Refugee and Immigrant Ministries, this young family was cared for while awaiting another sponsor.

Many families, especially women and children, are released in winter without adequate outer wear and shoes, and often sent to states that are still experiencing cold temperatures. The couple had been released into the U.S. in summer clothing and Oklahoma was currently having a December snowstorm. The twenty-one-year-old mother only had a short skirt, stretch pants, a thin sweater given to her by the border organization, sandals, and a short sleeve blouse. The infant had one sleeper, one blanket, and no formula.

Christmas in July

Our Region is asking you to participate in the Christmas in July project. Your donations of online purchases will ensure warm coats and shoes to those being processed in our border organizations. Our goal is to obtain 300 articles of clothing and shoes by July 31. Contact Rev. Mary Heath, chair of the Refugee and Immigrant Ministries Commission, for more information to help clothe women and children in need! Cell 405-697-7829 or email revmaryheath@att.net

A Day for Mothers

By Rev. Mary Heath

In the place we now call America-
we have just celebrated “Mother’s Day.”
A day we remember and thank mothers,
for all the love and support they gave.

The birthday parties, the presents,
the clothes, allowance, dance class, activities,
gymnastics, athletics, clubs, organizations,
bedrooms filled with posters, furniture, and toys.

And what about the mothers who gave everything-
their own homes and life,
their own safety and dignity,
just in the hope they would give their children-
safety, health, education, and the possibility of a future.

Those who gave their children to a wall or a bridge,
or a river, or a system far away that might offer them a chance.
Those mothers who gave the most precious thing in their life,
for the opportunity of a new life in a place they could not reach.

How do we celebrate mothers-
who made the ultimate sacrifice,
out of love and hope for their children.

2021-06-30T12:00:59-05:00Jun 20, 2021|Mission|Comments Off on A Very Christmas Narrative

Pray with Mission Co-Worker Judy Chan

O Lord,

Teach us to be grateful!  How quickly we forget all good gifts are from You. We neglect to say “thank you” until we are in danger of losing them altogether.  Today, we thank you Creator God for your wisdom and grace that give us all these:

  • Air to breathe
  • The great outdoors
  • Freedom of movement
  • A body to exercise
  • The magic of touch
  • Feelings of safety
  • Neighbors
  • Meals to share
  • Places to study
  • Spaces to work
  • Worship live in the house of God

Guard us, guide us, keep us, feed us, for we have no help but thee, yet possessing every blessing if our God our guide shall be.

In Jesus’ name we pray.

Amen.

2021-06-06T07:37:22-05:00Jun 6, 2021|Mission|Comments Off on Pray with Mission Co-Worker Judy Chan

Pray with Mission Co-Worker Kahala Cannon

God, we enter into your Presence with thanksgiving.  Thank you for being All Mighty God.  You are the first and the last, the living One, Redeemer, Creator, and Lord.  You alone stretched out the heavens and spread out the earth.  You are the Lord our God! We wholeheartedly put our hope and trust in you.

Thank you for hearing our cry as we lift our voice towards heaven.  We bring before you those who have faced: illness, loss of a loved one, maintaining mental and emotional health amid physical distancing and isolation, work furloughs, financial hardships, fear, and an uncertain vision for the future during this coronavirus pandemic.

Thank you for your everlasting arms that comfort us, your strength that sustains us, and your mighty hand that saves.  We hold tight to your promises because You are our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.  You promise to be with us and will uphold us with your righteous right hand.  You supply all of our needs according to Your riches in glory through Christ Jesus.  And you are God who heals us.

Thank you for your manifest presence and omnipresence in our lives.  We thank you and glorify you.
In Jesus name we pray.

Amen.

2021-05-07T09:15:52-05:00May 7, 2021|Mission|Comments Off on Pray with Mission Co-Worker Kahala Cannon

Hope Lives Here: An Immigration Story

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has a long history of answering the call of Christ to welcome the stranger and live out the numerous scriptures that tell us to love others. In Leviticus, and many other places we hear the word of God, “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

According to Disciples Home Mission’s website, “Since 1948, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has resettled more than 37,500 refugees and assisted countless people facing immigration problems.” We have several mission sites that are dedicated to assisting refugees and I have personally led several wonderful mission trips to Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries in Southwest Texas to stay and work at a refugee site.

Congo Family Seeks Sanctuary in Oklahoma

Last summer, Rev. Mary Heath, who chairs the Oklahoma Commission on Refugee and Immigration Ministries in Oklahoma, received a call from ministry partners in Texas about a family seeking sanctuary. This family is currently settling into a new life in Oklahoma. They escaped the Congo and it has been a tumultuous journey that has taken a few years from the time they left until their arrival in the United States.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been in a horrible civil war for years. It is a place where families fear the warlords will take their young sons to be raised to fight and they fear their daughters could face an even worse fate. The father of this family of 5 was a teacher and humanitarian worker whose life was threatened for helping people, serving the least. The family speaks 6 languages, and thanks to tutors are now learning English as their 7th language. They speak 3 African dialects, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. We are thankful for the work of OCRIM, the Spero Project, and Catholic Charities for the assistance this family is receiving in tutoring, mentoring, and so much more.

Laws Prohibiting Work

Did you know that when a family seeks asylum in the U.S. that a recent Federal law prohibits them from working anywhere from one and a half to three years of their residency in the United States? They can’t even apply for a work permit in the first 150 days, then must wait for one year after they formally apply for asylum, and then it can take 30 days once they get a hearing to approve the work permit. These rules have changed over and over again in the last several years making it almost impossible to know what to do and when.

The Challenge of Immigration Hearings

The problems are many. Oklahoma recently closed down the one and only immigration court forcing applicants to go out of state, and it can take months or years for them to even get a hearing in another state. In the meantime, if a family member works to try to provide for their family they are breaking the law and can face immediate deportation. Could you imagine the hardships that places on a family who has already left everything behind, carrying all they can in 3 backpacks? To compound things, the family just had a fourth child born in October.

Will You Help?

Western Oaks Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) supports the work of our Regional Church, and our Commission on Refugees and Immigration Ministries. As part of our support we are raising the money to pay at least one month’s rent of $654 for this family from the Congo. I am challenging you to help raise enough for one month’s rent and living expenses. Will you help us to be a beacon of hope to this family and others?

You can donate by sending your check or give online to the Regional Church through Givelify. Designate donations to Refugee Immigration Ministries (RIM). Or you may mail a check make payable to the Christian Church in Oklahoma, 301 NW 36th St., Oklahoma City, OK 73118. Please note RIM on the check.

You may find out more ways to help by calling Rev. Mary Heath at Edmond Trinity Christian Church. 405-348-8019. Also visit our RIM Resources page here.

Shalom,
Rev. Daniel U’Ren, Sr. Minister
Western Oaks Christian Church

2021-03-08T16:06:00-06:00Mar 8, 2021|Mission|Comments Off on Hope Lives Here: An Immigration Story

Refugee & Immigration Ministries Update

Nationwide:  More and more immigrants and refugees are entering the U.S.  Many being allowed to enter who were waiting on the Mexico side under the “Remain in Mexico” (MPP) mandate.  In the last four weeks, border organizations have seen a large increase in family units crossing and being processed.

Reunification of families:  is still under work, with slow results meeting frustrating previous practices.

Border organizations:  are seeing greatly increased numbers of individuals released into the U.S.  Most in Texas are trying to recover from the devastating cold and being without food, water, heat, and utilities.  They are working non-stop to catch up from lack of needed electricity to operate much needed computers for processing, communicating, finding shelters and facilities, family and friends to receive immigrants and refugees.

Check out the administration’s ambitious bill: US Citizenship Act of 2021, introduced by Senator Bob Menendez and Rep. Linda Sanchez.

Our regional status:  Our refugee family from the Congo was determined as ineligible for any state or federal benefits.  Catholic Charities has dropped them from any programs available as of Jan. 1st.  The family has no food benefits or cash assistance benefits for items such as electricity, phone, and non-food items (toiletries, cleaners, household items, clothes, diapers, and infant formula.)  Thankfully, several churches have given sponsorship of apartment rent and we are asking for more support in groceries and utilities.

In December two of our pastors Colton Lott, and Daniel U’Ren, in the midst of a snowstorm, helped a young couple with a newborn receive temporary housing and meals in OKC while having to appear at an ICE check-in.  An amazing member of First Norman, Neil Johnson, agreed to drive during the snowstorm to pick up the young family in Ft. Worth- saving them from a long bus ride and a late night with an infant and agreeing to get them to their appointment!  No one was informed the ICE office was closed due to Covid-19 and the couple had to reschedule.  While in OKC, their sponsor in Louisville KY declined to receive them.  They are temporarily residing in OKC and awaiting their next check-in.

There are many families awaiting sponsorship on the border to be released. If you believe your church family could receive one, please contact Rev. Mary Heath (revmaryheath@att.net) or visit our RIM Resources page here. It is a great responsibility and a great affirmation of the one family of God.

Thank you, my Disciple friends for your love and support.

Rev. Mary Heath, Chair
Commission on Refugee & Immigration Ministries

2021-03-08T16:06:59-06:00Mar 8, 2021|Mission|Comments Off on Refugee & Immigration Ministries Update

March Prayer with Global Ministry Partner Phyllis Byrd

Merciful God, we look for your strength and guidance at a time when the whole wold is affected by Covid-19. We pray for the vulnerable members of society, who are most impacted by the virus.

We lift up the member os the world family who are:

homeless,

refugees,

migrants,

We bring to you all who are sheltering at home; especially those for whom home is dangerous because of violence.  We pray for all who are living in areas in the world where healthcare is not available or affordable.  We pray for those who don’t have access to running water, for farmers, and all other essential workers.

God of new things, we come to you during such a kairos moment in history.  We come at a time when the universal Church is being called out of the ineffectual retreat that some have found comfortable.  We are called out of the echo chambers of our coffee hours and from the endless sound/fee god documents we produce, to a deeper reflection of the meaning of the cross in this day and time.

We are being called to move beyond the pageantry of Easter to the revolution it ignited in the world.  Transforming God, we are in desperate need of the stimulus check. Stimulate us with fresh and new articulation which will lead your children to action.  Revive your church, to a 365-days-a-year Pentecost experience.  A Pentecostal experience which will blow away the spirit of complacency and stimulate the whole church to be Spirit-driven and cross-shaped.  Blow upon your church as we boldly participate in confronting the evil powers of poverty, injustice, greed, and inequality and work to build a more just human community.

Finally, O God, we don’t want to go back to normal, we stand open to your metanoia, a change in the mindset in our life.  We pray these things in the name of your Son, our liberating Lord and Savior.

Amen.

2021-03-08T08:00:27-06:00Mar 8, 2021|Mission|Comments Off on March Prayer with Global Ministry Partner Phyllis Byrd