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news from the Radstock network

being an ambassador in my own community

Posted by Mike Mckinley on

Herndon, Virginia is a tense place. Twenty years ago it was a fairly

quiet far suburb of Washington DC. Now, to hear some people say it,

it is over-run with illegal immigrants. Every morning the parking lot

of McDonald's and the adjacent convenience store are flooded with men

looking for a day's work. If you walk down the main street, three out

of four people on the sidewalk will be Spanish speakers.


A few years back the town built a facility where day-laborers could

gather safely to wait for work. In the ensuing elections the mayor

and all of the city council members who had voted for the facility

were thrown out of office. Rhetoric and tensions have run high.

Crime rates have increased.


All of which is great for the gospel. The worse the surrounding

culture is, the more obvious the differences between the church and

the world become! Our congregation, which is English speaking, has

been given a wonderful opportunity to show counter-cultural love to

Spanish speakers through hospitality, mercy ministry, and church

planting. We share our home with a Christian couple from El Salvador

and some families in our church make a point of inviting Spanish-

speakers into their homes for meals (usually with another bi-lingual

family to serve as a translator).


And the immigrants in Herndon notice the difference. One man leaving

our house after dinner said with tears in his eyes that this had been

the first time he had ever been in an American's home except to paint

it. More than once I have been asked (through a translator, I don't

speak Spanish!) why we are trying to help them. The answer is

simple: God has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us a

ministry of reconciliation (II Corinthians 5:18). Since God has

pursued us in Christ, we are now ambassadors of God's love to those

who are different from us.


What an awesome privilege!


Mike McKinley is pastor of Guilford Baptist Church in Sterling, VA and a trustee of Radstock.

Tags: usa, spanish speaking


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