By NMC - January 28, 2016
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” –James 1:27
The Thailand and Burma (Myanmar) border extends for miles, running through mountains and cities, valleys and villages. Years of war and genocide have forced many Burmese people to relocate to Thailand. Many of these people, all of whom are simply trying to find safety and sustainability, are forced into sex and labor slavery. The home that is supposed to be a place of refuge becomes a place of abuse and shame, and these people become trapped. They can’t go back to their home in Burma. They can’t seem to claw their way out of the work they’ve been forced into.
Across the Burma border lies a city called Mae Sot, a place bustling and busy with people trying to build a life for themselves. Street kids, some without parents, aimlessly roam. Refugees and displaced people try to find work. But deep within this city, a voice cries out for justice. A movement shakes the city.
Fifteen years ago, Ray and Candace moved to Mae Sot and began a bicycle shop. Through this business they provided jobs, training and
discipleship. As they worked with locals, they came to realize the deeper needs in the community, especially with the street kids and overlooked people in Mae Sot. Outpour movement was birthed from a desire to meet these needs.
“Outpour movement exits to transform, disciple, employ and empower the children and young adults of oppressed people groups who transcend the Thai and Burma border.” This ministry combines empowerment, entrepreneurism and humanitarian efforts as they disciple and love the people of Thailand. Currently Outpour Movement is seeking to expand their ministry by purchasing a larger piece of land and building a center for youth. Their hope is that this space will provide a place for counseling and training to combat human trafficking, slavery and oppression for the displaced people on the border.
This is where a church in Nappanee, Indiana, comes into the picture. This year NMC Student Ministries is learning to do right, seek justice and defend the oppressed orphan and widow as they focus on Isaiah 1:17. When they learned about Outpour Movement, they saw a clear connection. Just as these students seek to live out Isaiah 1:17, the Outpour Movement seeks to defend the oppressed on the Burma and Thailand border.
Out of this passion, Student Ministries decided to dedicate a whole week to raise awareness, prayer support and financial support for Outpour Movement. This week is entirely student-led, and these students will give their time, talents and treasures to seek justice in this world. Outpour week kicks off with a silent auction running from Sunday, January 31 to Sunday, February 7. You can bid on items during regular Sunday and Wednesday programming in the Grand Hall. They will also be available online throughout the week at www.outpourweek.blogspot.com. This auction is a great way for the whole church to come behind Student Ministries and in the words of Pastor Derry, “bid ridiculous amounts” on the items donated by students.
A bake sale will happen on Wednesday, February 3, in the Fieldhouse. Students and Small Groups will make baked goods that can be purchased by anyone. These items will be on sale from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Outpour night will also run this same evening in the Gym from 6:30-8:00 p.m. Everyone is invited to learn more about Outpour Movement. Students will tell the story of this ministry through a variety show with the goal of raising awareness, prayer and financial support.
If you’re not a student, it could be easy to view Outpour Week as another neat Student Ministry initiative. But as you hear more about these events and as you hear the story of Outpour Movement, would you consider coming alongside this ministry? Isaiah 1:17 is a charge to all of us, not just Student Ministries. Let’s all learn to do right, seek justice and defend the oppressed, orphan and widow.