The "B'More Healthy Expo" on Feb. 10 saw approximately 30,000 attendees.
“It’s such an opportunity that God has placed at our feet.”
A Sabbath School class from the Atholton church in Columbia, Md., threw a baby shower for an Afghan refugee family on Wednesday night that had recently relocated to the area.
Members from Atholton’s “Three M” Sabbath School class (Mission, Message, Mingling) purchased a bassinet, baby clothes, diapers, and other essential supplies for an Afghan woman who’s expecting to give birth in the next two weeks. The class became aware of the woman’s needs while volunteering with Chesapeake Conference’s Adventist Community Services (ACS) earlier in the week.
“While we were talking with a family, the pregnant daughter of the couple walked out, and then we started talking with her and found out she was due in two weeks,” says Jackie Smith, one of the Sabbath School class members. “She asked if we had anything for the baby, and we said, ‘no, but we certainly can get something for you.’ We asked, ‘what do you have?’ and she said, ‘nothing.’…When I mentioned it to our Sabbath School class, everybody got on board.”
Over the next 48 hours, members from the class began contacting friends, scouring internet deals, and shopping in retail stores to gather essential commodities. They brought all the gifts to the hotel where the family was staying and invited them to come down to the meeting room for a surprise.
“The whole family was just so appreciative,” Smith says. “It was just so fun to see how everything came together.”
Smith believes Adventists have an excellent opportunity to reach people from a part of the world that has historically been challenging for Adventists to do mission.
“We’re doing the work of reaching people in the 10/40 window* right here at home,” Smith says. “These people that God is bringing to us still have friends and families in parts of the world that are hard to reach. It’s such an opportunity that God has placed at our feet. How can we not minister in such a practical way?”
ACS Chesapeake continues to support Afghan refugee families resettling in the conference’s territory through the work of its local churches.
“The Seventh-day Adventist Church has helped provide all the basics refugee families arriving in Maryland need to survive,” says Ignacio Goya, ACS Chesapeake director. “But there are other needs beyond what the government and emergency help can cover, and this is where local church members can come into action to advance the mission of God.”
*The 10/40 window is the name given to the world region between approximately 10 degrees north and 40 degrees north latitude, representing one of the most significant mission challenges for the Seventh-day Adventist Church.