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How Playgrounds Can Make a Difference


A worker among the world’s millions of refugees put it well: “A refugee would give his right arm to be in your situation!” Needy, far from home, hungry, tired, displaced, and too often treated as trash. After all, who wants their community to be overrun by refugees? And here I sit at home in comfort. The disparity feels overwhelming.

Today a potential Billion.Global partner shared about a ministry impacting refugees. His organization takes used playground equipment, refurbishes it, then ships it to a place where there are lots of refugee boys and girls... or an orphanage overflowing with children... or a gospel-starved city teeming with children, yet inaccessible to cross-cultural Christian workers. These are often places where children are highly unlikely to ever hear of Jesus during their lifetime.... unless there is innovation. Unless committed followers of Jesus use God’s Word and creative minds to figure out how to use playgrounds to help boys and girls, their families, and even their communities discover Jesus.

Community leaders in various places around the world have issued invitations: “Come build us a playground!” The welcome mat has been, and continues to be out. Over the last 25 years, nearly 1,000 playgrounds have been built in refugee camps and other very needy places.

“We’ll come if you’ll give us permission to not just build a playground, but to bring Bibles in your language for families who use the playground. And we’d like to train some of your people in sharing Bible stories in an oral format appealing to children.” This has been a door-opener for the gospel in some challenging settings globally.

How can this creative ministry be linked with other Billion.Global partners for kingdom cooperation? And how do we get to more kids and their caregivers who love hanging out at playgrounds the good news? When this leads to the making of disciples, with the gospel shared through words and acts of compassion like playground construction, it’s powerful. It’s a game-changer! As this creative leader said today, “All it takes is a Bible, a brain, and a big God empowering our work for him!”


Bob Fetherlin

OMS Global President

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