When disaster hits, Americans respond. Examples like Katrina, Harvey and Irma stand out clearly, as Americans do what they can to help one another.

Bus loads of people head for the disaster area with fresh water, food and medical supplies. Others become involved in clean up and the rebuilding of homes and businesses.

Those who can not make the trip support those going with prayer and financial assistance. Still other people donate clothing or money to the aid groups like the Red Cross or Samaritans Purse.

Americans respond when the disaster hits our own backyard. It is the thing to do. It is the American way.

So here is an interesting question for those of us who call ourselves Christians. “Where is my backyard?”

When the next door neighbors house catches fire, we respond instantly don’t we? When there is a car wreck and people are hurt, we call for first responders instantly and give what aid we can until the professional medical teams arrive.

What about when Christian children are hungry inside their refugee tent in Syria? Is Syria, or Nigeria, or Kenya our backyard?

That last sentence breaks us out of the previous paradigm. For the follower of Jesus, and the new paradigm of grace, wherever there is a Christian in distress, that is in my “backyard” even if the believer is suffering in Africa and I live in Oklahoma!

Here is how the Apostle Paul said it in 1 Corinthians 12:25-26: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.

We believers all belong to the one body of Christ. Wherever, whenever a believer is being tortured, we all suffer with that one. The past four years a Christian genocide has unfolded in the Middle East and across North Africa.

Thousands of Christians have been martyred in the most ghastly manners evil can dream up. When one member of the body suffers, we all suffer. We, the free Western church, need to see the whole world where believers live as our backyard.

We need to respond as first responders do, to any horror seen. Skin color, international boundaries, unpronounceable names, or denominational affiliation should be of zero consideration.

Jesus states it clearly. ”When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,[a] you were doing it to me!’ Matt.25:39-40

Our brothers and sisters in Christ live worldwide, right in our backyard!

Kim Wenzel is a local Open Doors USA ministry representative who speaks in churches and groups about praying for the persecuted church. For more information, persons interested may contact Wenzel at pastorkimwenzel@gmail.com or 918-919-1490. Hear more about the persecuted church at 6 p.m., every Saturday on KWXC 88.9 FM Christian talk radio.