By Michael Foust
When sixty-five refugees from Southeast Asia started attending Michael Spurlock’s tiny church in Smyrna, Tenn., about a decade ago, he welcomed them, even though the struggling congregation was on the verge of closing its doors.
Still, a question lingered in his mind: If the church of only twelve members couldn’t pay its own bills, how could it meet the needs of others? The answer, he says, came from heaven.
Spurlock was walking through a large field owned by the church one day when he sensed God telling him, “I’ve given you land, and I have sent you farmers from the other side of the world. Get to work.”
The solution seemed simple enough. The Karen refugees who fled Myanmar (Burma) had extensive experience in agriculture, and Spurlock’s congregation—All Saints Episcopal Church—had plenty of property. It even was adjacent to a creek. Church members and the Karen people …