If your congregation chooses to use the Loving Houston Prayer Guide, on Day 17 you'll learn that Houston receives about 3,000 refugees each year and that Texas received more than any other state in 2011. Margie Randall, retired as an "appointed" missionary with the IMB, has continued to tirelessly serve with a missionary heart. God has called her to be a missionary to the Bhutanese refugees in the Houston area. Pray for Margie and others who serve our refugee community. Pray that refugees will find both their spiritual and their physical needs met through the generosity of those who serve a loving God..
Read a recent account from Margie of service to the Bhutanese:
As I tallied up how many times a volunteer helped a family through the tiny 10 x 10 donation room, I was amazed. Over 2100 times in 2012, we gave out clothing shoes, school supplies, and sundry items and that is not even counting the home visits and school uniforms. What a blessing our Lord gave us to help some hurting families.
The clothing and sundry items did not just "happen" to show up all nice and clean and folded and put in bins. It took countless hours of picking up the donation, sorting it and then taking it to the apartment. It is a daunting task and without the help of volunteers, would be impossible for me. Even though the task is hard, it is well worth it to see the men, women and children smile and sometimes "show off" their "new" outfits.
I personally still cannot imagine facing horrible things in my home country, losing my home and property, living in a refugee camp for 18-20 years with mountains and greenery surrounding me, and then coming to my new home and giving a government $1500 dollars person for my airfare to come to my new country to start again. Arriving in debt, I have 3-8 months to find work and that will probably be at minimum wage, and my living quarters will not be in the best or safest locations. So, anything that can put a smile on a face or give some hope, is a blessing.
Through the generosity of many donors, Loaves & Fishes was able to help pay rent for a refugee family facing homelessness. We also provided groceries when families were in need and just needed help for a while. With the Lord's help and yours we were able to provide "love gifts" to some Bhutanese who helped with various projects and that boosted their family budgets.
A great joy for me this year so far has been to help some young Bhutanese with nice soccer uniforms. The only stipulation was that they do not smoke drink, or use drugs so that they can participate in sports. They were thrilled and so proud.
There were some hard times as well. Two ladies threatened to have abortions but with the promise of help, they decided to keep the babies. Praise the Lord.
The ESL class has helped at least two Bhutanese that I know of get jobs. Three so far have gone to work that had not worked all year and they are so proud to be working.
The children's Bible study time is growing as well. Many children from Buddhist and Hindu homes have told me they want to follow Jesus. One youth asked me for a cross last Saturday. I asked if his family would be angry and he said no, but he put it inside of his shirt. Praise God for all of the children that He is drawing to Himself.
Bhutanese, culturally, remind me a lot of the Thai people. Thailand is called the "land of smiles" but behind those smiles is often a lot of pain. Today a lady came for some toiletries and diapers. She always smiles and is one of my favorite people but today we were alone and she started to cry profusely. I was so shocked but hugged her as she poured out her heart to me. She is a grandmother caring for two babies that the parents have "abandoned". She used to work at the car wash and was independent. But now, she is at home with the babies. Her husband works but brings home $800 per month and rent alone is $600. The $200 per month food stamps in not enough to feed five people for a month, so she cried "no money". I promised we would help supplement her food and continue to provide items that food stamps does not buy (even if you have them), like laundry soap, dish soap, toiletries, etc. until she is able to go back to work. Thank God for donors!
I thank God for His preparation all of my life- the mission trips to impoverished nations, helping a missionary to the "garbage dump" people in Honduras, helping the missionaries with the "slum" people in Thailand, having a homeless woman in my home Bible study who led me to homeless ministry in Houston, working for the political asylum division of Immigration and hearing refugee stories, and then living overseas and working cross culturally. God truly does not waste any experience and I am forever grateful that He chooses to use each one of us.
Thank you for your prayers for the ministry. Please continue to pray for laborers for the harvest, for provision of all that is needed, for wisdom and discernment in all decisions, and most of all that He will bear much fruit through our lives and for His glory.
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
For more about ministry to the Bhutanese refugees go to the website, www.4loavesfishes.com
"Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do [it] to one of the least of these, you did not do [it] to Me." Matthew 25:45
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