Send Relief breakfast champions support for refugees

INDIANAPOLIS (BP)– Send Relief leaders emphasized the importance of caring for refugees at a breakfast the ministry hosted on June 12 at the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting in Indianapolis. The event, which featured church planting missionaries from the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and the International Mission Board (IMB), aimed to rally support for global refugee assistance and featured inspiring stories from those on the front lines of this critical mission.

Bryant Wright, president of Send Relief, opened the Send Relief Breakfast at the SBC annual meeting with a story.

In 2014, he and his wife sat in the tent home of a Syrian refugee family on the border of Lebanon and Syria. The father, blinded by the ravages of warfare, listened intently as Bryant shared the gospel. “Even though the man was blind, I could see in his eyes a sense of hope. And that day, that man trusted Christ as his Lord and Savior,” Wright said.

He urged attendees to embrace the spirit of Christ in their response to immigration, distinguishing the roles of government and the church. “The government has a role, and the church has a role. And they are very different roles,” he explained.

While the government enforces laws, “the church has a call to love our neighbor.” He stressed the importance of meeting real human needs while sharing the gospel, saying, “We are to respond in the same way as Christ, caring for those in need.”

A highlight of the event involved two missional leaders sharing stories of actively participating in refugee assistance. IMB missionary Philip Robinson discussed Send Relief-funded efforts helping Ukrainian refugees in Europe, while Send Network Church Planting Catalyst Colby Garman shared his experience as pastor of Pillar Church Dumfries as their church has used Send Relief funds to care for refugees from Afghanistan.

“We have seen the hand of God working through local churches and people,” Johnson noted, highlighting stories of salvation and the transformation from “scared refugees” to “active missionaries.”

Garman recounted his congregation’s engagement with Afghan refugees following the Kabul airlift. With many U.S. Marines in his church having served in Afghanistan, the call to help was immediate and personal. Garman emphasized the importance of seeing immigrants as God sees them.

“I wanted to see people go from relating to immigrants as a category to relating to immigrants as individuals,” he shared. He spoke about his church’s ongoing ESL work and the long-term commitment required for refugee ministry, emphasizing that “the good news of the gospel is still jaw-dropping.”

Following the breakfast, Robinson and Garman joined Wright at the Cooperative Program Stage to continue discussing their work with refugees.

Wright capped the event by calling churches to engage more deeply with refugee support through resources, trips and local church involvement provided by Send Relief.

With refugee crises escalating globally, the Send Relief Breakfast and the Send Relief exhibit booth served as crucial platforms for mobilizing support and spreading awareness.

To learn more about how your church can serve refugees, visit SendRelief.org/refugees.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Faith Wroten is the editor of On Mission Magazine, a publication of the North American Mission Board.)

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