boyradd

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Archive for the tag “America”

Learning to be in dependence

John 15:5 – I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

It has been a very long time since I posted anything on here. People were worried. Women and children were crying. News outlets posted that something nefarious had happened to me.

Actually, none of that is true.

Apart from a couple of people who regularly read my posts, I didn’t hear anything from anyone.

And, yet, surprisingly my numbers didn’t fall either.

So why has it been almost 3 months since I posted anything here?

I’ve been learning about being in dependence.

Tomorrow is July 4th. This is the date in America that we celebrate our independence. We are free. We aren’t tied to any other country.

We celebrate independence so much in this country. When children reach certain milestones in their lives they accept more responsibility which leads them to being more and more independent.

When we move out of our parents’ house and on our own, we accept full independence in our lives.

Growing up becomes a journey toward complete independence.

Psalm 40:3-4 – He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!

Sometimes we become so independent that we need to be stepped back a little.

That’s where my life has been.

I have always been able to handle what comes in my life. I have had tough times, but usually my own determination and grit got me or my family through. Sometimes that didn’t go so well. I think back at my divorce, for example. I didn’t have enough determination or grit to make it right and I didn’t listen to God enough to accept his grace and mercy and help.

But now I am starting to learn to move away from independence and move toward being in dependence.

My wife and I have had a lot of turmoil in recent months. I took a new job in full-time ministry. Right around the same time, she was laid off from her job. Then my dad was in and out of the hospital and then decided to move closer to us.

There is a lot of good stuff in there!

But it is also a lot of stuff that is happening at once. And couple that with the fact that our bank account is dwindling daily, it is pretty daunting.

In my past I have had 6 figure jobs and was never trying to find the next dollar to pay for anything. I was always able to do it on my own power. I can flippantly say that God gave me those jobs so I really was depending on Him, but truth of the matter was that I didn’t need God to do anything that I could do in my own power.

Now I am learning just how little of a man I am.

And in that weakness, God has done some very amazing things!

Each day I go to God and ask Him for the provision for the day. In my past I would have had enough provision for the year within 6 months of working. Now I am learning to lean on God more and more.

It has changed the way that I speak to Him.

Isaiah 30:15 – For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling

When I had everything I ever wanted, I found I wanted more. “God, please give me the ability to take the vacation so I can go cruise the southern Caribbean again.” Or, “God, let me be able to save enough so I can clear the trees from one acre of the property so I can build a party area.” Or here is my favorite, “God, give me more so I can start tithing. I just don’t have enough to give back to you yet.”

But now, my prayers are quiet. I don’t have any ambition left in me. There is nothing more that I want out of or from this world.

My car is no longer something that matters to me. It is a utilitarian need for the ministry.

My house is no longer that something that I care about. It is simply there to shelter us and keep us safe. As long as it does that, I don’t care if it is decorated or sterile. I don’t care if it is clean or filled with pet hair.

Food? That is still my issue. Anyone who knows me knows I love food. When I used to have a lot of money I would get my favorite, steamed blue crabs, as much as I could. Now, those are a far-off dream since they are so expensive. I was blessed to be able to have crabs once last year. Who knows, the summer is young, there still may be a chance this year. God willing.

But see, my prayers are no longer about the stuff that I have or the stuff that I want (except steamed crabs lol). My prayers are about how I can be used in my current role, in my current condition, in my current state, for God.

I pray for provision to make it through the day. I pray to not have anything pop up in our expenses that God won’t cover. And I pray for the time to get everything done that He is requiring of me.

Other than that, my 45 minutes or so in prayer each morning is in silence or reading the Bible. I am looking for God to speak to me rather than spending all my time speaking to Him.

And it is in that place, the place of utter dependence on God, that I find my contentment.

Yes, I still get frustrated. Just today as I was talking with my wife about finances I showed my frustrations. That is still my humanity. I can’t give up my humanity.

But it is in that place that I learn dependence.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

So on this Independence Day in America may you seek to be in dependence of Jesus Christ, the One and true Creator, brother and friend. He is all that and yet is God alone.

Immigration Policy and the Effect on Missionaries Worldwide: Part 1, Policy

Leviticus 19:33-34 – “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

This post will kick off a series of posts about immigration reform and the affect it has on missionaries since the founding of our country. This first one is going to be a little tough to digest. It was for me. This is going to lay out the actual immigration policies since 1790.

Almost 52 years ago the United States enacted the Immigration and Nationality Act which replaced the previous immigration program that we had which favored Europeans. The policy put in place 52 years ago opened visas to people from other countries and gave increased priority to people with relatives who are American citizens.

Prior to that, over 65% of the visas allowed in America were given to only 3 countries: Ireland, Germany, and the UK. Today, only 10% of the visas approved come from those 3 countries and the majority of them come from countries in Asia or Latin America.

All the way back to 1790 we have documentation of immigration policies. The Naturalization Policy of 1790 excluded anyone who was non-white from being a naturalized citizen. In order to be naturalized, you must have 2 years of residency, “good moral character,” and be a “free white person.” In 1795 it was extended to 5 years of residency, in 1798 it was extended to 14 years. BY 1802 it dropped back down to 5 years.

In 1798, the president was given the ability to deport or imprison anyone who was deemed dangerous to the United States. It was the first act to authorize deportation of immigrants.  Another 1798 policy, which is still alive today in modified form, was the Alien Enemies Act. It allows the deportation of men (aged 14 and older) from a hostile country during times of war. This was used widely during World War II and, even though modified, currently permits the president to detain, relocate, or deport aliens during war times.

Fast forward to 1864. An Immigration Department is formed under the Secretary of State and the “Act to Encourage Immigration” was enacted. Because of the labor shortages after the Civil War, this act allowed for the government to create contracts with other countries to provide immigrant labor.

By 1870, naturalization was given to those of African nativity or descent. By this time, our immigrant population was at its highest since the inception of the country at 14.4%.

In 1875, the country released its first restrictive immigration legislation with the Page Law, also known as the Asian Exclusion Act.  This prohibited the immigration of criminals into the country and also made it a felony to contract with forced Asian laborers.  By 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act banned Chinese laborers from immigrating for the next 10 years and authorized deportation of unauthorized Chinese immigrants. Anyone of Chinese descent who immigrated prior to 1880 was given amnesty, but could not naturalize. By 1892 the amount of time Chinese could not immigrate to the USA was increased to 20 years and they must show documentation and proof of identity.

The 1891 Immigration Act was pretty large. It increased the list of people banned from immigrating to include polygamists and those with a contagious disease. It also permitted deportation of ANY unauthorized immigrants and it made it a federal misdemeanor to illegally immigrate.

1903 brought about a policy that barred people from immigrating because of their political beliefs. This act prevented anarchists, beggars, and importers of prostitutes from immigrating to the country.

By 1916 we start seeing more exclusions. Almost every Asian country was now excluded from being able to immigrate to the United States and any immigrant over the age of 16 must be able to demonstrate basic reading ability.

In 1921 the Emergency Quota Act was passed. It created numerical quotas for immigration based on nationality. Quotas were to be 3% of the foreign born population of that nationality in the 1910 census. Asian countries were still barred from immigrating. Also, the total amount of people allowed to immigrate to America was capped at 350,000.

1924 saw the creation of U.S. Border Patrol. Also in 1924, the immigration cap was decreased from 350,000 to 165,000. The quotas were also changed. The quota change favored countries that had a longer immigration record with the United States than those with shorter. It also denied entry to the United States of anyone who was ineligible to become a citizen. This meant that only whites and people of African descent were allowed entry.

In 1942 the Bracero Agreement allowed temporary visas to Mexican nationals for the purpose of working in the agricultural fields. This agreement stayed in effect until 1962.

In 1943, the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed and they were added to the quotas. Also with this, Chinese people were able to naturalize in the United States.

In 1952, the McCarren-Walter Act formally removed race as an exclusion for immigration and naturalization. Also under this law, political views, ideology, mental health, and other criteria were used a basis for exclusion and deportation. It also created priority immigration status for those who were skilled workers and those who were immigrating to reunite with their families.

In 1953, the Refugee Relief Act authorized special visas for 200,000 refugees and allowed these immigrants to become permanent residents.

President Kennedy, in 1961, provided medical care, financial aid, assistance with resettlement, and child welfare services for Cuban refugees. The Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1962 assisted individuals in the Western Hemisphere fleeing from “persecution or fear of persecution on account of race, religion, or political opinion.”

In 1965, the antiquated quota system was removed and replaced with a preference system that included standards such as family reunification and skilled immigrants. The visa cap was also removed for the Western Hemisphere and the Eastern Hemisphere was given a 120,000 cap on visas.

President Ford, in 1975, approved the Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act. This gave 130,000 Vietnamese funds for relocation and resettlement. This was due to the the fact that South Vietnam would fall to the communist north.

Then in 1976, the visa caps went back into play when Mexico was given a cap of 20,000 visas annually and the entire world was given 290,000. Prior to this, Mexican immigration was at its highest.

The Refugee Act of 1980 adopted the UN’s definition of refugee admission standards. It also included deportation relief and admission based on region or nationality. This means it paved the way for emergency immigration relief for the persecuted and unprotected around the world. A short time later in 1986, the Simpson-Mazzoli Act gave permanent residency to illegal immigrants who lived in the US and worked certain agricultural jobs. This provided amnesty to over 2.7 million illegals. Reagan added to that the minor children and spouses of those who became legal under the 1986 law.

In 1990 the cap was briefly increased to 700,000 and then reduced to 675,000 on the number of visas granted. Of that, 480,000 must be family-sponsored visas, 140,000 are employment visas, and 55,000 are what are known as “diversity immigrant” visas. These are for people who come from countries with low immigration to America.

1996 brought about more protections. President Clinton approved the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. This increased enforcement at the borders and allowed the building of fences and walls at the highest points of entry in the United States. It tightened workforce enforcement, removing criminal and deportable aliens from the country. It also increased the restrictions on aid that immigrants can receive, especially illegal immigrants.

By 2002 we digitized the admissions and removal of immigrants and the visa program. Also, in the wake of 9/11, the Homeland Security Act transfers almost all of the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Services) to DHS (Department of Homeland Security).

In 2006, Bush 43 got the Secure Fence Act passed. Due to the failure of immigration reform, the law mandates a 700-mile double-layered fence to be constructed on America’s southwest border. It also beefed up staffing of border security there as well.

In 2012, President Obama, through executive action, signed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act. This law affected illegal immigrants between the ages of 15-30 who were brought to America illegally as children to apply for temporary deportation relief and a 2-year work visa. Over 750,000 people applied for that relief.

In 2014, a second executive order allowed illegal immigrant parents who have lived in the U.S. for at least 5 years and have children during that time who are U.S. citizens to apply for deportation relief and a 3-year work visa.

This year, so far, President Trump put through executive action to change immigration policies. These policies will affect 4 distinct groups of people:

  • Criminals who are immigrants. Trump has promised that he will remove 2-3 million criminal immigrants. He has taken a broad stroke on the definition of “criminal” as most partisan and non-partisan groups place that number significantly lower at under 1 million.
  • Immigrants who arrived as children. Over 750,000 qualified for the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) act. While Trump pledged to remove DACA, he has since softened his stance saying that he is willing to work with those who qualified for it. If it was rescinded, those people would face unemployment, the inability to attend college, and possible deportation. There is currently legislation in the Senate that would provide this group “provisional protected presence” but no path to citizenship.
  • Immigrant parents of American citizens. About 4 million people qualified for the 2014 Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program. Again, Trump wanted to immediately rescind both DAPA and DACA, and he may still do so. But they will likely be a low enforcement priority.
  • Workers and recent arrivals. While they may remain low on the immigration totem pole, if Trump decides to follow Bush 43’s lead, there could be an increase in workplace raids. Many recent arrivals were already targeted for prioritized deportation under Obama, such as children from Central America fleeing violence. Trump has considered maintaining their deportation priority.

Trump also recently put a temporary ban on entrance from 7 Muslim-majority nations and an indefinite ban on entrance from Syria. So far this has led to only 109 people being detained nationally. according to his numbers. According to the lawsuit put forward by the states, that number is over 100,000. This isn’t new. Obama did a very similar action in his second term. Unfortunately, whether it is 100,000, 109, or even 1, with a president as polarizing as Trump, the media will be in a firestorm, which will embolden other countries to stand up to Americans.

Beginning next week, I want to look at the potential effect of Americans abroad, especially missionaries, when countries lash out against America for current legislation.

Exodus 22:21 – “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

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