Happy Memorial Day! Today I am reminded about all the freedoms we have and that many people have died fighting for them. May we not take them for granted. Many people around the world would give anything to have freedoms and rights we have. Especially those who have lost their freedoms.
Last year I was reading countless stories and seeing unsettling photos of the world’s worst refugee crisis since World War 2. These stories break my heart. And they break the heart of God too. Families, just like ours, are leaving everything they know, fleeing ISIS, in hopes to stay alive. I kept asking myself, what can I do when I’m here and they are over there?
Then, in November, I was sitting around the dinner table with my family and my parents. My mom and I had been talking about the refugee crisis in the Middle East and she had been asking the same questions. So, we started to brainstorm ideas about what we could do to help. With Christmas right around the corner, we thought…what if we bake up some cinnamon rolls (which is something we do every Christmas) and sell them? We decided to call it “Rolls for Refugees” and give 100% of the money to various organizations who are on the ground in Syria, Iraq and the region.
We had no idea what the response would be. And when God puts something on your heart and you want to follow it and have faith, the enemy will try to come in and bring doubt. But we moved forward and put it out there and we were overwhelmed by the support.
Our goal was to raise $1.000 in three weeks and with the help of our families and friends we exceeded our goal and donated $1,400 to three different organizations, The Refuge Initiative, Mennonite Central Committee & Pre-Emptive Love. We chose those organizations because they are the meeting the needs of refugees in the name of Jesus and are doing amazing things.
This last month, during May Justice Reign, we’ve heard some amazing stories about women helping women. And I loved Jake’s sermon yesterday about the relationship between God’s love and loving our neighbor.
I want to encourage you to take action in an area that pulls on your heart strings. Maybe you’re feeling called to the love and care of foster kids. Or maybe you’ve been praying about sponsoring a child. Or perhaps you want to take a stance against sex trafficking. If you don’t know where to start, begin by praying for God to reveal what he’d like you to step into.
God has given us all gifts and talents that He wants us to use for Kingdom Justice. He breaks our hearts for people and circumstances because we all have something to offer.
Brittany Turco with her mom, Sheryl Russell, have been baking together for over 30 years. The Rolls for Refugees project was not only a fundraiser, but also a way to raise awareness of the refugee crisis. Click here to find out more. Brittany is on staff at Grace Chapel and Sheryl attends Zion Mennonite Church.