Editor’s note: This blog originally appeared on Tim’s blog, Dividing Walls. Permission was given to repost it.
Ten years ago the elders of our church made a bold decision to relocate from a wealthy suburb or Atlanta to an unknown place. All we knew was that we would focus on immigrants. It was the fruit of a year’s worth of seeking the Lord as a faith community; and my own driven, desperate discontent as a pastor.
One of the most compelling moments came when I was on a retreat. I had my Bible and a simple request, “Show me your kingdom again, Lord.” One of the first scriptures I felt drawn to after a time of prayer was Rev 2 where the angel corrects a church that is doing good things but has lost it’s first love, Jesus. The angel tells the church to turn back and do the works they did when they first believed (out of the same motivation for Jesus’ grace to them).
Here’s the kicker – a fact that I never connected with until this time of reflection – the very first thing I ever consciously did as I was coming to faith was work with immigrants. I was a freshman in college. I went to my first evangelical church service with my RA. The love and worship in the room took my breath away. The next week he invited me along because he had received a call from the church. I didn’t know what to expect, but I went along. We were asked to deliver space heaters to migrant worker families in the Brazos Valley of TX. We were thanked with home-made tortillas.
“Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.” I’m laughing because I never realized how literally this command would end up being. Who would have thought that a first act of curiosity 33 years ago would be the seed from which a ministry like Immigrant Hope – Atlanta would spring? Not me. Sometimes God just makes me laugh with delight.
Tim Isaacson is a Board of Immigration Appeals accredited representative and Executive Director of Immigrant Hope – Atlanta. In addition to running a growing immigration legal center he is also a member of the Evangelical Immigration Table, an immigration reform advocacy group. He has also been blessed to teach with the Immigrant Pathway Institute over the past couple of years. He is married with two teenage sons. When not dodging eye-rolls from his sons, he enjoys watching Arsenal football club who alternately thrills then breaks his heart.
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