Posts Tagged ‘medical mission’

By Debbie B.

For the love of The Messiah compels us to reason this: The One died in the place of every person; so then every person died with him. 2 Corinthians 5:14 (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

For the Love of Christ Compels Us

In May, 2017, a medical team from Richmond’s First Baptist Church traveled to the Middle East to serve the refugees from Syria. During the six days they were there, the team saw patients in dire conditions, suffering from significant physical and emotional pain. All of the refugees had been forced to leave their homes because of the brutal ISIS regime that had moved into what had been their towns. All had been traumatized, many were tortured, and some were forced to watch the murders of their family and friends. Panic and fear filled their days before they were able to leave.

For the Love of ChristBut as the team cared for the refugees and listened to their stories, they found many who were Christians with amazing stories of how they had survived the turmoil through their faith in Christ. Here are a few of the stories of the people they met and the holy moments they experienced that the team wanted to share with their FBC family.

For the Love of Christ Compels UsOne of the older women the team met, Hadhirah, fought off ISIS militants who came into her home to force the family to leave. They beat her with a board, and even today she still experiences tremors and is in constant pain. She was also forced to watch as the militants killed her son because he was a Christian. Hadhirah explained that when ISIS came into the village, they marked her home, as well as others who were Christians, with a sign indicating their belief in Christ. The sign also signaled that anyone could do anything to those in the house without recourse from ISIS. Above is the sign for “Christian” like the one placed on Hadhirah’s home. Interestingly, this is translated as “The Nazarene” in Arabic.

Nasir was another believer the team met. He had been tortured and beaten by ISIS militants as they forced their way into his home. During his ordeal, he focused on the words from Ephesians 6. Later, he decided to write the militants a letter, or poem, based on this scripture. Through the translator working with the team, a Christian, Nasir told them what he had written, which follows:

A Letter to ISIS – by Nasir

My place is with Jesus Christ.
If a fox thinks to approach me
he will find me protected in the Lion’s arm.
I will stand up and raise my head higher.
In Jesus Christ only is my salvation.
I will have no fear or slackness.
The Lord of my salvation is our stone (rock).
The Lord has filled me with righteousness.
He robed me with the breastplate of righteousness.
My feet are fitted with the readiness
that comes from the gospel of peace.

Faith is our shield of protection from the arrows of evil.
The helmet of salvation is a crown on my head.
God’s Word is a double-edged sword
that we defeat our enemy with.
Our brothers; we are always ready and awake
with prayers and fasting,

waiting for the day when the Lord will come on clouds.
We are ready.

For the Love of Christ Compels UsAlthough some on the team had medical training and went on the trip to care for the refugees’ medical needs, all felt compelled to go and share God’s love. As Mary Michael Lipford writes, “At first, I felt completely inadequate for the job. I was the youngest on the team with no medical background, no seminary training, and no knowledge of the Arabic language. This is where God came in; reaching out and calling the unequipped for His purpose. There I was, sharing the gospel while checking blood pressures and finger pricks. In 2 Samuel 7, God told David, ‘I took you from the pasture…to be ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone.’ He took an inadequate shepherd boy and turned him into a king, and He calls each of us to do what may seem impossible by equipping us with tools for the job.”

For the Love of Christ Compels UsYour tithes and offerings helped cover the costs of Hadhirah’s and Nasir’s pain medicines, as well as medicine and care for many other Syrian refugees. Your gifts have taken good care of those you will most likely never meet. And, your gifts have provided for the love of God to be shared in the midst of suffering and pain. The medical team learned of many refugees of other faiths coming to know Christ. They have called out to God in the midst of the persecution they have endured due to the brutal ISIS regime. The team found that God had revealed himself in mighty ways in the midst of the dire conditions.

Dear Father,
The numbers seem overwhelming at times, but you know each individual refugee by name. Each person bears your image. Each child is loved by you. Open our eyes to their need and their potential. Soften our hearts to their suffering. Move us to action in ways that honor the love and compassion you have for each refugee. In the name of Christ, Amen.
(From Baptist Global Response; ©2017, Pray for Refugees)

Team: Debbie B., Elizabeth and Mary Michael Lipford, Ashley Larson

Read Full Post »

By Kathy Rock. Photos by Kathy Rock and Skyler Cumbia.

I never thought Christians being compared to sheep very flattering. I think of them as dumb, unable to care for themselves, always needing to travel in a group, and not very clean.

On a recent trip to the Middle East I had an experience that changed my point of view.


photo by Kathy Rock

calloutDuring our first evening our translator explained that often several shepherds would combine their flocks at night so they could take turns keeping watch. Being a city girl, I asked the obvious question – how do the shepherds separate their sheep in the morning? Are sheep marked with a brand like cattle or do the shepherds just count off the correct number? He explained that each shepherd makes a unique sound in his throat and his sheep recognize their master’s voice and follow him. That’s very biblical, right?

shepherd's flock

photo by Kathy Rock

While traveling to a nomad’s desert site the next morning we stopped while a shepherd and his flock crossed the road. Using my best Arabic hand signs, I asked the shepherd if I could take pictures of him and his sheep. He agreed. As I snapped away, a car door slammed behind me and the sheep encircled their shepherd for protection. But while I continued to take photos, the sheep began to spread out again, away from their shepherd.

It was then that I heard it! At first I didn’t know from where this low cooing sound came, but the sheep knew. They came back to where the shepherd stood; they knew their shepherd’s voice.


photo by Skyler Cumbia

For me the Bible came to life that day: “His sheep follow him because they know his voice.”  John 10:4, NIV

So, do I still think sheep are dumb, dirty, and need someone to take care of them? Honestly? Sure I do. Do I still think it is unflattering, as a Christian, to be compared to a sheep? Not at all. How fortunate I am to be a dumb, dirty sheep in our Lord’s flock! How blessed am I that my Shepherd knows my name, and I know His voice!

Thank you for being my Shepherd, a Shepherd who willingly
gave His life for me, His poor, dumb sheep.

In the fullness of my life, when my ears are filled with the harsh sounds
of the world, help me listen for Your voice. Help me hear Your words,
for I know that when You speak life changes. I know that You are truly
the Shepherd who “supplies my needs.”

Editor’s note: Debbie Boykin, Skyler Cumbia, Rod Haithcock, and Kathy Rock visited the Middle East in September 2012. They provided medical clinics to open doors for relationships with Bedouins. To participate in a similar trip contact Debbie Boykin.

Kathy RockKathy Rock and her husband, Bill, have four sons and five grandchildren. Kathy is an Exceptional Education Teacher at J. R. Tucker High School. She is a deacon and enjoys working with the Youth II Sunday School Department, leading the Music Makers choir for FBC’s first and second graders, singing in the Church Choir, and playing handbells with the FirstRingers.

Read Full Post »