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Editorial: Praise the Lord for the scattering of his church


Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. Acts 8:4, New King James Version

Diaspora. That’s a term we use to describe the dispersion of people from their original homeland — often against their will. 

Taken from a Greek verb that roughly means “to spread about,” it appears in the Septuagint Greek translation of the Old Testament:

The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them; and you shall become troublesome to all the kingdoms of the earth. (Deuteronomy 28:25)

In the book of Acts, we see how persecution of the first-century church resulted in the spread of the Gospel. The church, displaced and homeless, formed new communities and reached new souls because of the very forces working against it. What the Enemy intended for evil, God used for good.

It’s happening again today — in stories we have yet to tell in these pages. 

Recent news of the turmoil in Venezuela doesn’t begin to describe the diaspora effect that the South American country’s economic collapse is having on other countries in the region. 

Years of evangelism and God’s providence have made Venezuela one of the strongest nations for Iglesias de Cristo (Churches of Christ) on the continent. Now our friends at Great Cities Missions, which supports church planting and evangelism across Latin America, tell us that Venezuelan church members forced to leave their homeland to find food and jobs are revitalizing congregations in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. 

We praise God for his protection and provision. May we be inspired to do what we can whenever we can, wherever we are, whatever our circumstances.

Beyond that, we’re hearing stories of Iglesias de Cristo in South American nations that are taking in and serving economic refugees from Venezuela — most of whom have never before encountered our fellowship. 

This has happened before. The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine — a region that likely had more church members than most of the rest of Europe — forced Christians to flee westward. As they pray for the conflict to end, many of the refugees have revitalized Churches of Christ in the western part of their country. One displaced minister from Ukraine now lives in Athens, Greece, and shares the Gospel with refugees from the Middle East.

We praise God for his protection and provision. May we be inspired to do what we can whenever we can, wherever we are, whatever our circumstances.

One final note of encouragement: When we read the beginning of Acts 8, we see that the reason the early church was scattering was because of a man “who made havoc of the church.” His name was Saul, and we know what happened to him. 

May the sources of our persecution today become the stalwarts of our fellowship tomorrow. 

Filed under: Editorial encouragement Opinion refugee scattering of Christians Venezuela

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