Why Christian Missions Can't Slack on Follow-Ups


People with Hungarian Baptist Aid unload supplies provided by Baylor Scott & White Health for refugees. (Photos: Bertalan Feher/Hungarian Baptist Aid)

Christians have an ethical responsibility to follow through by presenting the results of a missional project in an honest and straightforward fashion.

After all, we owe a debt of gratitude to those who catalyzed the projects with the sacrificial gifts.

Lamentably, too many times a dribble of a report is supposed to satisfy the supporters who yearn to know about the advancements in helping and healing in the name of Christ.

In the case of Syrian refugee assistance by Faith in Action Initiatives of Baylor Scott & White Health (BSWH), many groups joined in the healing symphony.

First, we received recyclable supplies from our various hospitals. Second, we used a 737 jet due to the kindness and largess of Ross Perot Jr.'s foundation and his air business, ATX Air Services. Third, we were blessed by the spirited Baylor University volunteers and ATX Air employees who provided more than 250 hours to see the project accomplished.

All of these people deserve a full report of the progress in the name of Christ.

And there's another side of the equation: Responding to any kind of international disaster requires full trust among all the parties involved in carrying out the project.

In the case of the Syrian refugees crossing into Hungary, we, in Faith in Action, linked our resources with our fast friends and colleagues in Hungary.

I have enjoyed friendship with leaders of Hungarian Baptist Aid for many years through Baptist World Alliance connections.

Those years of camaraderie in previous disasters (Haiti and Japan) provided the ingredients for a trusting relationship. They are first-name friends, such as Bela, Sandor and David.

So, we work as a team that crosses time zones and political boundaries. Receiving reports "from the field" is just as normal as breathing.

I received the following report from Hungarian Baptist Dávid Gál, director of International Programs for Hungarian Baptist Aid: "The donation of Baylor Scott & White Health is already helping Syrian refugees on the Croatian-Hungarian border."

"Hungarian Baptist Aid and Croatian Baptists are working together with the local Red Cross and other organizations, and they have already distributed a good portion of the canned food items and baby food to the refugees stopping at the Opatovac camp in Croatia," he said. "As the cold weather is starting to hit the barely winterized tents, the blankets are proving extremely useful for the road-weary families who often travel with young children."

Gál added, "As preparations are made to distribute the remaining supplies currently in the Baptist warehouse in Vinkovci, the donations of Baylor Scott & White Healthcare already blessing hundreds of vulnerable Syrians on their difficult westward journey."

The first link of this inspired project (from Texas to Hungary) was developed and executed in a mere nine days.

From that time on, our Hungarian Baptist brothers and sisters have borne the arduous responsibility of carrying out the mission, face to face and mouth to mouth.

They have used these Baylor Scott & White resources to share Christ's love with many who have lost homes, homeland and hope.

Amid the heartache of this international crisis, the transnational people of God teamed up to present a glimpse of what it means to be heavenward bound. Thousands are now receiving expressions of compassion and hope.

And the impact of this Christian symphony of compassion may just lead some to consider that there truly is a Balm in Gilead.

Don Sewell, a former seminary professor and missions administrator, is director of Faith in Action Initiatives at Baylor Scott and White Health.

Editor's note: Photos of Hungarian Baptist Aid's distribution of BSWH's relief supplies can be viewed here. Additional photos of HBAid's relief work are available here. You can learn more about BSWH's Faith in Action Initiatives here and HBAid here.

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Tags: Baylor Scott and White Health, Don Sewell, Faith in Action Initiatives, Human Rights, Humanitarian Aid, Hungarian Baptist Aid, Refugees


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