As I start my 39th year of ministry at First Baptist it might seem that nothing new could be done. How big God is should never be doubted. What God has in store for all of us should never be questioned. These past few years have been amazing with the new work that God has allowed me and First Baptist to join Him in. Five years ago there were no Burmese Karen Refugee ministry and only a very limited college ministry. God has opened the door wide in these two areas of mission work and it has filled me and many First Baptist members with so much joy and purpose.
The last two nights were very exciting for GPS, the college ministry of First Baptist. Earlier this semester at UNCW, over 247 college students filled out “I am interested in missions” cards at the UNCW Involvement Fair. GPS stands for Go Passionately Serve and First Baptist’s GPS had a booth at the Involvement Fair. Already this year, 54 UNCW students have helped serve meals at our Tuesday night Feeding the Homeless Ministry, 34 students have help our Burmese Karen Refugee children and teenagers with their homework on Wednesday night during CrossTraining, 62 came to our GPS Masonboro Island kickoff cookout Adventure, and 26 have come to our Sunday night Bible Study/Worship nights. It has been very exciting to see these college students serve God by following Jesus example of welcoming the refugees, feeding the homeless and worshiping God.
This past week a great group of 35 GPS students not only fed the homeless on Tuesday night, but went around to their tables, sat with them, listened to their stories, asked for their prayer requests and needs. After all the tables and chairs have been packed away, we had a tremendous prayer circle and it was very moving to hear both the GPS students pray but also several of the homeless men join our prayer circle and pray with all their hearts. The very next day at Wednesday’s CrossTraining, a group of 34 Burmese Karen Refugees children and teenagers were joined one-on-one with 21 GPS students to help them with their homework. We have several Karen refugees who have just come to Wilmington this summer and are beginning from “square one” learning English and doing their homework. Watching these pairs of children who for many were living in Thailand in very poor living and educational circumstances only six months to two years ago, and GPS students from UNCW, studying, reading, and laughing together is terrific.
An added blessing this year that God has provided is a new GPS college students who was a 1st grade refugee from Vietnam when she came to America 12 years ago to settle with her family of mother, father and seven brothers and sisters in the Greensboro area. “Ra” is a student at UNCW and signed up for GPS at the fall UNCW involvement fair. She came to help one of the Burmese families who has two teenage girls move into a new apartment, setting up their beds, arranging their bedroom furniture and clothes. Ra also went shopping with one of the 15-year-old Karen girls to pick our a new dress to wear to a recent Burmese wedding that was held at the Activities Center. It will be an amazing example for all of our Burmese Karen kids to see Ra who came to USA just like them when she was a child and now is a student at UNCW.
God is truly doing IMMEASURABLY MORE in the lives of both the Burmese Karen children, teenagers, mothers, fathers and the lives of our GPS students from UNCW.
Blog By: Don Vigus