Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Nolensville churchgoers see immigration as a ministry

This article in the Tennessean describes the perspective of Nolensville churchgoers that immigration is a ministry opportunity more than it is a topic for debate. The author points out that "there are also two or more ways that people deal with issues — immigration being one of them. I'm not talking about United States borders; I'm talking about right here, the 'us' vs. 'them' theory..."

As the story describes the efforts of Diana Hough, Sandy Shawhan and Heather Thomas of Nolensville First United Methodist Church, Angelica Rosas of Glencliff Church of the Nazarene, Jerry Patton of Ebenezer United Methodist, and Armando and Cassie Vera of Stonebrook Baptist Church, it becomes clear that these Nolensvillians have chosen a more excellent way:
[D]uring this vacation Bible school week, kids can help by bringing in school supplies for Hispanic children in Nashville. A carwash will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at NFUMC to raise money to buy backpacks. The goal is $1,500.

Why the interest? "I'd taken Spanish for three years, and I've always had a love of it," Thomas said. And, obviously, she has a heart for people in need. She uses her Spanish now and Rosas helps her by sometimes speaking only Spanish to make her practice. In turn, Thomas helps Rosas, who's been in the States for 10 years, with the intricacies of English.

Thomas shared her ideas with new pastor Sandy Shawhan, who hopped on board and suggested Thomas try to get other churches in town involved.

Speaking of, Stonebrook Baptist Church's youth minister, Armando Vera, led a mission trip to one of the poorest areas of Mississippi outside of Tunica. He and a pastor there ministered to migrant workers. Seven people were baptized.

Raylene King, wife of Stonebrook minister Dennis King, looks at immigration not so much as an issue but as a really big ministry.

She says, "A few weeks ago at service Dennis said, 'All I know is our job is to love people.' " Well said.

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