Jalil Dawood was 18 and struggling when he committed his life to Christ in Rome after fleeing his home in Iraq. In 1982, he was at a crossroads in life—wondering why followers of Christ were persecuted in many parts of the Middle East, why he and others were forced to live as refugees. He would not see his family for 20 years.

Persecution of Christians worldwide mandates a strong commitment to outreach in nations where people are not allowed to follow Christ freely and to the refugees who flee those countries, said Dawood, a third-generation refugee who later came to the United States to start a new Christ-centered life. Dawood, senior pastor of the Arabic Church of Dallas and a Southwestern Seminary doctoral student, spoke at Southwestern Seminary’s 2017 Scholarship Donor Banquet, April 11. The event gave scholarship recipients the opportunity to thank Southwestern ministry partners for their generous donations. The event also was a time for donors to reach out to scholarship students and to pray for them and the pursuit of their callings.

Emphasizing the dire need for ministries in countries that are hostile to Christianity, Dawood said, “There is a hatred for the name of Christ in these places, but there is hope in the name of Christ.” Scholarships, he continued, make it possible for hundreds of recipients to follow their call to preach the Word of God by working part-time rather than full-time and focusing the majority of their time on ministry opportunities and their studies at Southwestern.

Today, Dawood’s passion to help other refugees fuels the mission of World Refugee Care in Plano, of which he is executive director. “This persecution in other countries is an evil,” Dawood said, “but God turned it into my salvation.”

“We must reach out to refugees, to bring them to the love of Christ, and feed them and be there for them,” Dawood said. He praised Southwestern Seminary President Paige Patterson and ministerial students at Southwestern for strengthening his ministry and defining his direction. “When I win someone to the Word of Jesus, you are all with me,” he said.

Following Dawood’s testimony, retired San Angelo druggist Dale Chadwick, who, along with his wife, Joyce, established a scholarship fund in support of home missions, spoke on behalf of ministry partners. Assisting more than 75 students through the fund since its inception in 1992 “has been a blessing to us,” he said.

After Chadwick’s oldest son graduated from Southwestern Seminary in 1989, the Chadwicks visited him in Colorado, where he was struggling to find a footing for a fledgling church. Their visit was interrupted when a tornado forced them to seek shelter, demolishing the church.

“But it was by God’s design,” Chadwick said, emotion in his voice. In the coming months, there was a surge of assistance from the community and from other congregations—enough to provide funding for acreage and the construction of a superior new church building, all purchased debt-free. The ministry and congregation grew, and when Chadwick first considered the idea of establishing a scholarship fund, his son suggested a focus on home ministries.

“God has blessed us with the ability to feed that need,” Chadwick said. “We set a goal and met it, and each time we reached a goal, we set a new one. If we don’t reach our goal by the time God calls us home, we will finish it from our will.”

“Get on your knees and set that pulpit on fire,” he urged students. “People will listen when you do. I’m a businessman, and I like making a return, and through these scholarships, I’ve had my share. Those returns are saved souls.”

Earlier in the program, the Southwestern Singers, conducted by Associate Professor of Voice Ben Caston and accompanied by Keji Lu, performed stirring versions of “Jubilate Deo” by Peter Anglea, in traditional Latin; “I’m Gonna Sing ’Till the Spirit Moves in My Heart,” a powerful spiritual written by Moses Hogan, with soloists Timothy Edmonds, Daniel Dudley and Jonathan Peacock; and “Ride on King Jesus.” All members of the chorale are Southwestern Seminary scholarship recipients.