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April-May 2016


Without Borders


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Stumbling on a Refugee Crisis

by Ken Eagleton


When we worked in Côte d’Ivoire, Africa, my wife Rejane and I received a letter from a lady in one of our churches in Brazil. “Kathy” (name changed for security reasons) identified herself as the missions representative of her newly planted church. She wanted information about our work so she could share it with her church and pray for us.

The Lord began dealing with Kathy’s heart about going herself as a missionary. Without knowing exactly what the Lord had in store for her, she enrolled in a two-year Bible certificate program offered by one of our Bible colleges. Kathy couldn’t get her mind off a certain Middle Eastern country. The Lord gave her a burden for the millions of Muslims from a particular ethnic group, and she became passionate about going where they live to witness.

After finishing her Bible studies, she enrolled in a one-year missions program where she learned much about cross-cultural ministries. Having completed it, her church sent her to Bolivia for a year of internship in cross-cultural ministries. While there, she learned Spanish and began a ministry among Native (South) American children.

Before reaching her desired destination, the Lord prepared one more necessary stop along the way. She spent nearly two years in South Africa where she learned English and lived in a majority Muslim neighborhood in Cape Town. She visited a nearby daycare and asked to volunteer once a week and tell stories to the children. The lady who ran the daycare accepted. Kathy began teaching the children Bible stories while the daycare lady listened intently. Kathy did not know she was Muslim. Several children made decisions for Christ and, on the last day Kathy was in the country, the daycare lady also prayed to become a believer.

In 2013, after years of preparation, Kathy departed for the Muslim country her heart yearned to serve—sent by two Free Will Baptist churches in Brazil. She arrived without a husband (a major drawback in that culture) and without knowing the local language. She enrolled in a language course at a local university. The oldest student, Kathy was also the only one who spoke a Western language. She found language study grueling, much harder than learning Spanish and English. Determining how to reach her target ethnic group—given her societal limitations—presented another challenge.

The refugee crisis in that part of the world soon opened doors for her to minister. Her city is now home to 170,000 refugees. She visits the refugees, taking what little supplies she has to them, and simply prays with them.


Kathy recently described one of these visits she made with two other believers. They came to a tent where four brothers were staying with their families—a total of about 25 people. The day before, the brothers learned ISIS had killed their parents. Before praying, Kathy felt led to say something to them, so she said, “God loves you.”

They did not receive her comment well. “How can you say God loves us if He permitted us to lose all we have back home, being forced to flee, and now our parents have been killed?” In her broken, local language she explained this is not God’s doing, but the consequences of sin. She proceeded to give a gospel presentation to hurting people hungry for words of hope. A few days later, during a follow-up visit, the adults in that extended household became Christ followers.

Kathy says many who are fleeing from ISIS are giving up their Muslim faith, saying if that is what their religion is like, they don’t want any part of it. She says the door is open wide for evangelism to these suffering people. Many more people are needed to reach the hundreds of thousands of refugees. Who will give so Kathy can stay and minister to them?


About the Writer: Kenneth Eagleton, M.D., served as a medical missionary in Côte d’Ivoire for 18 years. He and his wife Rejane currently serve in Campinas, Brazil. Learn more about the exciting things God is doing through Free Will Baptist International Missions at


Want to Help Kathy Minister to Refugees?

Kathy is currently supported by a couple of Free Will Baptist churches in Brazil. Her home church is small and has been in a building project for two years. A recent devaluation of Brazilian currency has increased the cost of maintaining Kathy overseas. She is also facing difficulties with visa renewal.

The best way for her to obtain a resident visa will be to purchase a house (at a cost of at least $50,000) to establish residency. If you want to help, contribute to IM by designating a gift to Brazil Ministries:





©2016 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists