7-Year Old Rescues Drowning Toddler

Source: Baptist Standard

Brazilian Baptists are demonstrating the love of Christ through action by welcoming more than 100 refugees from Afghanistan to Vila Minhya Pátria – the Homeland Refugee Village. Here, they receive care and learn skills to prepare them for long-term residence in Brazil.

After the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban subsequently reclaimed control, Human Rights Watch reported it triggered an accelerated human rights crisis.

“After the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, we felt the pain of the Afghan people who would once again go into distress due to the rules imposed by the extreme group that regained power,” said Fernando Brandão, executive director of the National Mission Board for Baptists in Brazil.

Since last September, the Brazilian government has granted humanitarian visas to people affected by serious and widespread human rights violations in Afghanistan.

Brandão, who recently was in the United States to attend the Baptist World Alliance annual gathering, noted Brazilian Baptist involvement in receiving refugees following contact from a BWA representative. The BWA contact forwarded a letter from an American nongovernmental organization working in Afghanistan seeking places to receive refugees.

“We were challenged to host a group of 89 Afghans,” Brandão said.

Baptists in Brazil also responded to requests from the Guarulhos Social Service office, after an unexpectedly large number of families had arrived at the international airport with nowhere to go.

Brazilian Baptists agreed to welcome Afghans before they had a place that could accommodate the families they expected to receive.

The Vila Minha Pátria, supported by Brazilian Baptists’ National Mission Board and Foreign Mission Board, received its first families on April 19.

“Since then, we have already welcomed 112 people,” Brandão said.

The refugees not only receive shelter, food and health care at Vila Minha Pátria, but also learn Portuguese and participate in classes about Brazilian culture.

Brandão cited the example of one Afghan man to illustrate the impact Christian love in action is having on refugees. Using a translation app on his cellphone, the man told Baptists at the village: “For my people, religion is more important than people. But for you, people are more important. You can love us in a way that our own people could not.”

Brazilian Baptists view the refugees’ arrival in their country as a gift from God.

“God has given us the privilege of taking care of people who lived in a country closed to the gospel. And, today, through daily practice, we have communicated what it means to live the love of God,” Brandão said.

After refugees spent a relatively brief time in the village, Brazilian Baptists plan to enlist churches, associations and individual families to sponsor them as they are mentored, participate in job training and work toward independence, Brandão explained.

“We are a people moved by the love of God, who drives us to love our neighbors and put ourselves in their shoes. Offering shelter to refugees is sharing the love we ourselves have received,” Brandão said. “It is fulfilling what the Bible says in receiving, welcoming and showing love.”

Source: Baptist Standard