In the last several days, our senses and emotions have been tugged at the horrific pictures, videos and interviews of refugees. Who has not cried over Aylan’s tiny little dead body at the shore of the Aegean Sea?? And who has not been gripped by the painful pictures of refugees trying to cross to Europe?? As a result, organizations are guilting you in giving, fingers are being pointed at politicians in the ugly and brutal blame game, and the churches are accused of not being “the church” if they do not act swiftly.
This blog is not intended to accuse, blame, or guilt you in anything!!
Instead, my desire is to help you understand the crisis and how we can lock arms as a community of Believers to be most effective in reaching our world for Jesus Christ. In order for us to that, we must ask ourselves some questions…
How did this refugee crisis occur?
People have had to flee their homes because of war, danger or persecution since the first communities were formulated on this earth. This is not a crisis that occurred in the last year, people have fled their homes for thousands of years. The refugee crisis has reached an all-time high because of ISIS destroying Syria and entering into Iraq. Close to 1/3 of refugees today come from Syria and Iraq alone. However, we also have people from Afghanistan, Colombia, Somalia, Congo, Sudan, Myanmar, Central Africa, and Eritrea that are refugees. Most of them these refugees that are internally displaced people (IDP) and some flee to neighboring countries to seek asylum.
What are the best steps to take for the benefit of the refugees?
The first step is for each refugee to be able to live in their homeland in peace. War, persecution, or danger are factors that do not allow them to do that. The United Nations has been charged with trying to promote world peace. This sometimes means fighting against rebels, factions or political parties are bent on destruction. Ideologies, religion, prejudice, politics are can all play a role in causing war. The Unites Nations can’t possibly fight against the deep rooted sin in the depraved heart.
The second step is to welcome refugees who are unable to go back to their homeland. The first countries that these refugees flee to are the neighboring countries and considered “countries of first asylum.” Countries like Turkey, Jordan, and Pakistan are populated with refugees that have fled from a neighbor country. The neighboring counties that take in the refugees are usually supported by organizations like the Red Cross, or UNHCR (The Untied Nation High Commissioner for Refugees) or smaller faith based organizations like World Relief, and Baptist Global Response.
The Third step is for refugees to register with UNHCR to receive refugee status. There are 26 countries that have agreed to resettle refugees into their own country, and the Unites States being one of them. A new trend hit twitter known as #wewelcomerefugees. This movement is intended to encourage our political leaders to welcome refugees in our country. Most people don’t know this but out of the 26 countries that resettle refugees, America welcomes the largest number of refugees. I’ve always said that America is a generous country and I’m grateful for the Her leading the way in resettling refugees. So instead of pointing fingers at our leaders, how about we thank them for their generous spirit!
The refugee crisis is ongoing so we need to, first of all, educate ourselves about refugees and we need to know how we can better serve them in the name of Christ! My next blog will be about how we can make difference.