A Family Reunion

Much of the world’s focus has been on the refugees in Syria and Iraq as a result of the Syrian civil war and ISIS. And rightly so, this conflict has been a large contributor to the largest refugee population human history has ever seen. There is a slightly older refugee conflict however that has faded from the global conscience, that is equally insidious.

Sudan has suffered under an oppressive Islamic regime for many years aimed on expunging any African, Christian and non-Arab influences in a systematic campaign of Arabization and Islamization. It’s leader Omar Al-Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes against his own people, notably the documented use of chemical weapons in Darfur, and accusations of the same in the Nuba Mountain regions of the South. (You can read about my recent visit to a refugee camp in South Sudan just across the border from Sudan here).

There are over 3 million displaced and refugees from the conflict in Sudan. They have run to neighboring countries such as Egypt, Chad and Ethiopia, and a massive wave of new refugees immigrated to the new country of South Sudan when it gained it’s independence in 2011. North Sudan all but emptied of Christians once the new South Sudan formed, but some Christians remain, albeit under great pressure from the government.

This story demonstrates the reality for numerous families, but a small minority in the grand scheme, that have been resettled to the four corners of the globe as a result of the conflict. This church engaged with a Sudanese refugee family and walked with them through the long process of immigration, learning English, and adapting to life in the foreign land of America.

Dyan comes home

This video represents the next chapter in the now near four-year-old story of our church’s ministry to refugees in a North Fort Worth complex. A ministry that began with two of our elder wives, Mary Claire and Molly coming alongside the Sudanese woman in this video, now has over a hundred vetted volunteers serving the diaspora in our region.

In the midst of constant news documenting the plights of refugees, it is easy to grow cold and ignore the human stories. We may be tempted to think that ‘those refugees’ are not our responsibility because they’re worlds away. But, Jesus reminds us that loving our neighbor is not restricted by ethnicity, geography or cultural group. As the author of the video notes “Xenophobia is nowhere in the heart of God.”

Thankful to this church in Fort Worth who demonstrates the heart of our loving heavenly father. And, for the documenting of some heartwarming good news in a world that desperately needs more.

This video was originally posted on Vimeo by Robert Fuqua.

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About Scott Gustafson

Scott Gustafson has extensive experience in global ministry and business in the Middle East, having lived or worked in the region for nearly 15 years. He serves as the Middle East Director for a US based ministry and is also the Managing Partner of Purpose Global Strategies, an International Business and non-profit consulting firm. He advises large funding agencies as well as indigenous businesses and ministries in Sudan, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. He teaches as an adjunct faculty member of Cornerstone University. He has an MA in Intercultural Communication from Moody Graduate School, and a BA in Nursing and Biology from Western Michigan University. Scott and his wife have 2 children and they live in Grand Rapids, MI.

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