refugees

It’s Worth Your Time: Reach out to Refugees

reaching out to refugees

Have you ever moved to a new place where you didn’t know anyone? It seems as if it takes forever to find your way around and get used to new roads, grocery stores, and schools. Without family or friends nearby, it’s easy to withdraw.

Then it happens. A new colleague at work or person at the church you’re visiting offers some advice or recommends his or her most trusted mechanic. Life gets easier and you settle in. While we can probably all identify with this experience at one time or another, can you imagine doing it without knowing English? The majority of the refugees in our midst encounters this reality daily.

We focus in our churches on the need for refugees to learn English, and that is important. But in the meantime, how do they find housing, enroll their children in school, and understand how to get insurance or a driver’s license? The details of life can be overwhelming for a person who has never had to register his or her child for school or go to the health department for immunizations.

Make it Personal: Build Relationships with Refugees

Headline news reports daily showcase the worldwide refugee crisis. Governments pass laws to deal with influxes of homeless internationals. Communities struggle to find solutions to growing multicultural populations. Neighbors voice conflicting opinions. What should believers do in the face of such turmoil?

Sure, we care about the refugee issue. But how can we change caring about the issue to caring for the refugee? Instead of being overwhelmed with current events, let’s allow God to use us to reach the nations, one person at a time, right in our own backyards.

Ways to Create Space for Relationships

Physical Space

Missionary Spotlight Update: Week of Prayer for North American Missions missionaries

It’s in our DNA as Southern Baptists to pull together as a community of believers and spread the gospel.

In the 1880s, Annie Armstrong pioneered the Maryland Mission Rooms, a missions literature library that detailed and circulated information regarding vital needs on the missions field. Armstrong called for women’s groups throughout the United States to pool their “egg money” and prayers for missions. Women knew that by combining their efforts, they could make an impact.

It might be 2018, but the goal remains the same. The Annie Armstrong Easter Offering enables North American missionaries to plant new churches, care for those in the community, and reach the lost all across the United States, Canada, and their territories. It is one of the most unique cooperative offerings in that 100% of the gifts go to support and equip missionaries.

Refugees Are Here: What Now?

You hear the news—refugees are being sent to your city. Hardly any time passes and it happens. “They” are really here. “They” start appearing in the grocery store, lining up to enroll their children in school, and sitting in the doctor’s waiting room with you.

Your mind races. Is the vetting process enough to protect our citizens? What if “they” are really terrorists? What if “they” have illnesses your children or grandchildren can catch? It’s easy to panic. But what we really need to ask is, who are “they” anyway?

Who are they?

They are people. They are people who’ve been displaced from countries in distress. They are mothers, fathers, widows, widowers, grandparents, and innocent children. While we might carry concerns for what they’re capable of, we need to consider how they are feeling—frightened, alone, bewildered, and sad.

Discover their background.

After refugees arrive, conduct some research to learn where they are coming from. What is their homeland like? What trauma have they been exposed to? What are the cultural norms?

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On Campus Yet in the World: 5 Missions Opportunities for College Students in 2018

Happy New Year! It’s officially 2018. As you begin to think about all that’s in store this year, is God nudging you to become more involved in sharing His story with others locally, nationally, and globally? With another semester upon you, it may be difficult to see beyond the next couple of weeks. But God can use this season of your life to spread the good news among those who desperately need to hear it. Whether you have a weekend, an entire semester, or a long-term opportunity on your heart, check out these ways to use your time as a student to further the kingdom of God:

Weeklong/Weekend Missions Trips

Ask God to show you opportunities to share His love with others. Learn about the needs of people around you and how missions trips could be a tool for you to meet those needs, beginning with a week or a weekend. Plant seeds of the gospel in the hearts of those you serve by explaining why you care and want to help. Look for opportunities to expand your conversations and share about the hope Jesus offers.

Love on Display: Showing Christ to refugees is multifaceted

How can you be a friend and care for someone who misses her family and is concerned for her well-being? How do you respond to a young girl who shows you her good grades and tells you she dreams of becoming a doctor? What do you do when you are served a delicious meal or cup of tea? Instead of reacting the same way for each of these scenarios, you find an appropriate response that indicates you share that person’s concern and sadness. You express how proud you are of the child’s accomplishments or thank your host for her hospitality. When you respond to refugees, you can also look for ways to show compassion, share in their joy, and show your appreciation.

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Peace after Turmoil: Sudanese refugee believes the gospel

For decades, Ridick would feel the struggle of war on the outside—and war on the inside.

Rebel fighting was tearing his home country, Sudan, apart at the seams when he was in high school in the ’80s. He tried to put his mind to his studies, but it wasn’t long before he was being asked to join the war.

“I witnessed my friends being taken at night—they were taken to be trained to fight,” Ridick said. “All the roads at that time were blocked, and people were hungry—there was no food.”

So he finally decided he had to get out of that place. He sneaked onto a truck convoy and started the 100-mile trip to the next-closest city. It was a trip plagued with gunfire and attacks. And it was the beginning of a journey that would last for years.

“It was a rough road,” Ridick said.

He crossed the border into Uganda, joining his brother who had also escaped and was living with an uncle. After a month, the uncle died, and the brothers set off for a refugee camp in Kenya, where they lived for nearly a year. But it wasn’t peaceful there.

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Recognizing the Humanity in Refugees

Refugee. It’s a heavy word laden with nuances in our world. There are so many types of people who fall into this category—those who are fleeing war-torn countries or persecution and those who need respite from poverty and famine.

But the meaning of the word refugee doesn’t stop there. Mention the word once in a group of people, and politics inevitably comes into the conversation. People have their opinions about the plight of refugees and what everyone should do to address it. Let’s be real, though: behind the word refugee is a human being. There’s a woman fleeing war to protect her children. There’s a man moving his family to ensure their survival during a time of famine.

Every person who becomes a refugee is a human life precious to the Lord. In the past couple of years, God has been working on my heart to ignore the political rhetoric and Facebook debates and focus only on His hurting children. If we are to live a missional lifestyle, then we must set aside societal prejudices and discover ways we can help save the lives of the people God loves.

Support on Social

Support Refugees on Social Media

Use these free images and messages to advocate for refugees on social media. Click on the image to download.

Praying for the Masses: Do I see refugees with Jesus’ eyes?

She came across the border with only the clothes on her back and several small children. Her husband had remained behind to fight ISIS and protect what was left of their home. At least, she hoped he was still there protecting their home, because she had not heard from him in over a year. Now she sat across from me at our English as a second language class looking tired and confused. How could I explain the basics of our lesson without knowing her language? How would I ever reach her with the gospel?

Could this woman have been one of the thousands of refugees crossing into Europe? When I watched them on TV, my thoughts were not so wholesome or Christian. You know the saying “Can’t see the trees for the forest”? Sometimes we can’t see the refugees for the media. Our views and eyes lose focus when we look at things through the lens of this world and not through the eyes of the Spirit.

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