Isrrael Rodriguez   -  

Deer Flat Church is “a community of believers in Jesus Christ that exists to glorify God through the teaching and application of God’s Word and through personal and corporate worship, with an emphasis on equipping believers for service within the church to strengthen the body of Christ, and for service outside the church to minister the gospel of Christ” such is the heart of Deer Flat Church Outreach Ministry. 

When serving within this ministry, I think about the foreigners among usAs Christians, we should welcome and invite them to integrate into the life of the community, treat them with justice and compassion, and reach out to them with the blessings that are in Jesus our Lord.

How can you reach out to the foreigners in your community? Who are they and what can you do for them?

These are some of the questions that I personally asked myself a few years ago. God gave us an answer by sending to us a Venezuelan student from the College of Idaho, Libna Roximar Morales. It was by spending time with “Roxy” that we learned about the international student community at COI.  International students make up roughly 20 percent (nearly 200) of the student body and represent more than 90 countries with a diverse range of religions, languages, and ethnicities.

Both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament are clear and consistent when it comes to how we are to treat the foreigner. Across the books of both testaments, in narrative, law, prophecy, poetry and parable, the Bible consistently spells out that it is the responsibility of the citizen to ensure that the immigrant, the stranger, the refugee, is respected, welcomed and cared for. It is what God wants us to do, but it also recognizes that we too were immigrants — and immigrants we remain. “Like my forebears, I am an alien, resident with you,” says Psalm 39.

Opportunities to serve are all around us. I want to take some time to THANK YOU and celebrate with you what the Lord has been doing in the life of the church:

On October 6th, we were able to host Indian Food Dinner night. We had the privilege to welcome pastor Dookhan & Shantie Rampersad, directly from Trinidad and Tobago. They came for one week just to prepare traditional dishes for a group of no more than 60 people, majority, COI kids from Nepal and India, as well as, feed our souls with their true story testimony of their conversion from Hinduism into Christianity. Great conversations took place around each table, where we had Deer Flaters having “swallowship”(eating+having fellowship) as well as being the light and salt of the earth with these kids. What a great night that ended on a surprise birthday cake for one of the attendees.

Following this event, my family and I were invited to COI, as special guests, to the celebration of a Hindu holiday “Dashain”, longest Hindu festival in Nepal, traditionally celebrated for two weeks with prayers and offerings to “Durga”. Folks, praying and offerings to one of their Goddess…!

In the middle of the program (after some dancing and prayers in their language), I was asked to come to the front with my family. We were looking at each other not having a clue of what was next. We were there and I took the challenge. In their tradition, someone they highly respect is asked to bless them individually. I was standing there and told the boys, I pray only to one God, is it ok I call upon the name of my Lord Jesus Christ? They all agreed. I firmly believe when we lift Jesus up in public, He draws people to himself. After this session, I was greeted by Jim Everett, COI president, who with tears in his eyes celebrated Jesus being shared in that room, with no more that 130 people present, “Gloria a Dios”, Glory to God. HIS ways are higher than ours and HIS plans are always the best. Long story short, the next day, I got phone calls from Hindu students who needed a host family, they were begging we could become theirs, just to have fellowship with us, no strings attached. I am using these opportunities to share Jesus with them.

Fall Break, October 16th-20th, was the time God allowed us to serve no more than 800 meals at COI. Students and administrative staff as well as campus safety people, were able to enjoy a hot meal. Again, Deer Flat Church was present alongside Boise Food Bank, and their food trailer.

On November 13th, Love Caldwell + 1 Volunteer donated 14 bicycles total for some COI students. Now kids from Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, Ruanda and Nepal have a way of transportation. Students were so appreciative of such a gift. These are just a few door openers for simple conversations where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is shared in a way that Jesus himself is revealed to the lives of the people.

Last, but not least, Thanksgiving Dinner, hosted by Deer Flat Church & Celebrate Recovery, on November 23rd 5:30pm-7:30pm. International Students/friends and church family (who don’t have a place to go that night) are invited to join us.  So far, we have a group of 20 people who accepted the invitation with a Yes. Would you join us to pray for these lives, that they may know the Light of the World, the only one who conquered evil and THE ONE we should all be THANKFUL for saving our lives from sin, and soon coming back again Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Gracias familia, thank you family for listening to the voice of God with us and doing what He says. If you are interested in knowing about serving opportunities within the Life of the Church, please, do not hesitate in communicating that with us.

We love you and look forward to what the Lord has for all of us to be part of as we continue to live, every day, on missions with HIM.

In his service,
Isrrael Rodriguez
Associate Pastor – Outreach Ministries.