6 Ways to Help on World Refugee Day

Wednesday, June 20 is World Refugee Day; a day to recognize the courage and perseverance of displaced people around the world; a day to show Christ-like compassion to those who are forced to flee. Many look at the ever-growing global refugee crisis and wonder, “What can be done in a single day?” I have often glossed over recognition days in our society, too jaded and apathetic to believe that a single day can have lasting results. Perhaps there are some who feel too powerless or removed to make an impact on the global refugee crisis. Still, others may be hesitant due to political views or social pressure, hoping the crisis will be forgotten or tackled by world leaders in a distant country.

But what if you saw the global refugee crisis as an opportunity for light to shine in the darkest of places? What if you rejoiced because captives were being set free from oppressive regimes and false teachings? What if you saw the physical needs of refugees as an open door to meet the greatest need of all: their need to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ so they may come to know Him as the One True God? Jesus values them, pursues them, and calls them by name – and He has created a lasting home for them in eternity that can never be shaken.

Refugees need to hear these truths. Christians are called to make them known.

Once these realities pierce our hearts, what if we resolved to do something – anything – to help in our small corners of the world? At WMU, we have prayed and worked fervently to provide you with resources and opportunities to address the global refugee crisis. We want to empower you to foster a compassionate response and make an impact wherever God has placed you. Here are 6 ways you can help.

1. Host Seeking Refuge: A Refugee Simulation in your church or community.

Seeking Refuge: A Refugee Simulation gives a glimpse into some of the difficult decisions and struggles refugees face as they’re forced to leave behind their homes and entire way of life. This experience will guide you to better understand refugees’ critical needs and how you can pray for and serve refugees around the world. WMU and its partners have led this simulation in churches and events around the country. The feedback from participants has been powerful and compelling.

This product includes everything you need to make your refugee simulation an experience participants won’t forget – from curriculum and learning materials to a promotion kit and a printable takeaway. Consider hosting this event among your sphere of influence. You'll be amazed how eyes are opened to the realities of the refugee crisis.

2. Donate to the Isaiah 58:10 Campaign to provide the hope of everlasting life.

The Isaiah 58:10 Campaign is an initiative of the WMU Foundation and WorldCrafts; the fair-trade division of WMU. WorldCrafts sells fair-trade goods made by artisans all over the world, many of whom are battling poverty, human trafficking and displacement as refugees. Some of these artisans are completely dependent on WorldCrafts’ orders for their livelihood. When you donate, you help WorldCrafts provide sustainable income and the message of eternal hope to these people.

3. Plan a church-wide study focusing on refugees and the missionaries who serve them.

The new International Mission Study will help you understand and share with your church the challenges and the opportunities the global refugee crisis presents for missionaries and followers of Christ. This study includes materials and activities for every age level in your church. We pray and believe this mission study will:

  • challenge you to examine your own attitudes about refugees to ensure that your thoughts and feelings are in line with God’s Word.
  • inspire you to share with your family, friends and faith community the truth of God’s unshakable pursuit of the eternal souls of each refugee.
  • break your heart over the plight of the refugees, leading you to solemn prayer for every refugee and for an end to this crisis.
  • encourage you to get involved in giving and going into the world to become personally involved in caring for the least among us.

4. Purchase fair-trade products made by refugee artisans.

Begin Anew is a WorldCrafts artisan group in Nashville where refugees learn to speak English, develop job skills and receive words of eternal hope. They also make beautiful, fair-trade products that provide them with sustainable income after they've fled war, terrorism and persecution in their home countries. When you buy a WorldCrafts Begin Anew item, you are enriching the lives of these refugees who are starting over.

5. Explore 12 accounts of refugees in the Bible.

Refugees: Forced to Flee is the perfect Bible study for your small group or Sunday School class. It includes 12 Bible studies centered on refugees in both the Old and New Testaments, complete with commentary, questions, ways to be involved, prayer ideas, and real-life stories. Included are interactive extras to use when leading others: attention-getters, prayer stations, simple simulations, worksheets and practical ways to respond to the refugee crisis.

6. Read about our responsibility to engage in the refugee crisis.

There's so much to learn about the global refugee crisis that we don't consider in our daily lives. As a busy wife, mom and professional, I often take for granted the comforts and opportunities that I am blessed with. I find myself complaining about things that are luxuries to many people around the world. I forget about the urgency of the gospel getting to the billions of lost people on the earth. But WMU has enlisted ministry and missions experts to weigh-in on the global refugee crisis and their writing is challenging and inspiring. I invite you to check out their blog posts and articles; you will be pushed out of your comfort zone and spurred on to prayer, good deeds and compassion.

Rachael Merritt is the Customer Engagement Hub Manager at national WMU. She loves hiking, college football and reading Henri Nouwen.

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