In Celebration of Courage and Leadership

Messengers at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention cast ballots for a resolution during the afternoon session Tuesday, June 14 in St. Louis. Photo by Chris Carter, Copyright © 2016 Baptist Press, Southern Baptist Convention

Messengers at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention cast ballots for a resolution during the afternoon session Tuesday, June 14 in St. Louis. Photo by Chris Carter, Copyright © 2016 Baptist Press, Southern Baptist Convention

As we in the United States look towards next week's celebration of Independence Day, we are mindful of the millions around the world whose daily experience does not include many of the same rights and freedoms we enjoy. As we remember them, we recommit ourselves to standing with these vulnerable people groups. We also celebrate those who are working to bring hope and help to so many vulnerable people.

We are especially grateful in this season for the commitment recently expressed by the Southern Baptist Convention in their resolution to welcome refugees who are resettling in the United States. As the largest denomination in the United States, we know that the effects of their resolution will echo not only throughout their own churches, but throughout countless U.S. churches of many denominations. We are grateful for, and celebrate the moral courage and leadership the Southern Baptist Convention has shown in this area.

We also celebrate the ongoing work of Preemptive Love—an organization of individuals who continue to risk their lives to deliver food and aid to Iraqi families caught in the crossfire of the operation to liberate Fallujah from ISIS control. This week, Preemptive Love team members encountered more danger than at any other time in their organization's history. We are inspired by their courage to risk everything in order to meet the essential needs of those in and around Fallujah.

Finally, we are grateful for and celebrate each of you. At World Relief, we know that you not only faithfully support our work to stand with the vulnerable around the world, but that you also faithfully stand with the vulnerable in your day to day lives. We remember Jesus' words that as you serve "the least of these," you serve Jesus himself. For the many ways in which you work to bring freedom, hope, health and love to the lives of those in your churches, schools, places of work, and neighborhoods—we celebrate your courage and leadership.