Reaching Refugees with the Gospel
“Here’s a Syrian refugee family who had an incredible exit out of Syria. Those boys had to walk over many dead bodies. Today they heard the Gospel.”
The United Nations estimates more than 65 million refugees have been forcefully displaced from their homes. Many of these end up in refugee camps. I am compelled to think of this today, June 20th, “World Refugee Day,” as I’m heading into the area of one of the largest refugee camps in the world. Only yesterday I learned there was even such thing as an actual World Refugee Day. Where I’m headed today, to Mafraq, Jordan, more than 150,000 Syrian refugees are packed into a refugee camp. Although the crisis at home in the U.S. is extremely emotional and gut-wrenching, the situation in Syria is catastrophic. Today I’m thankful for and supporting friends/believers who are giving their lives away to cheer, serve, and share the good news with displaced Syrians, in many areas around the world. I haven’t always known what to do or even how to pray. I know that blaming the dictators and governments of the world won’t get me very far, so I’ve chosen a different path. I’d view my path as the least I can do. I’m not as active as some of my friends who are true heroes, but I want to do the least, the little things, and encourage you, that you too, can make a difference. Here are a few ideas on what you might do, based on how I’ve been led over the past few years. Feel free to chime in and share what you’re doing as well.
1. Prayer. God sees those who are suffering. He hears them. We can pray for the refugees of the world. As we pray, I do believe God will help them, relieve them and bring blessing into their lives. We should also pray for our leaders and even world leaders, that they make wise decisions and lead with compassion.
2. Dive in and support those who are doing good: In RDU, a few at King’s Park International Church helped a small group open a Refugee Clothing Closet. In a humble way they help both refugees and undocumented families find free food and clothing. It’s called the House of Mercy and it’s making a difference. I send my extra clothing to this Clothing Closet/ Food Pantry. It’s housed out of our wonderful Hispanic congregation in Durham, NC called, Celebración Cristiana. I’m so grateful for Pst. Ernesto & Martha.
3. In America, show practical love for a refugee family or a struggling family who may be undocumented. As Christians, we love first. We’ve seen many turn to the Lord and are grateful the gospel powerfully changes hearts and puts many on a new path.
4. I eat at a restaurant called Sushioki. This restaurant deliberately hires refugees who work and make an income that is a cost of living income instead of minimum wage. By eating there, I’m investing with the owner, Lawrence Yoo and his economic strategy to help refugees.
5. Internationally, through JordanLewisMissions.org we helped purchase a van which has been used in and around a major refugee camp for more than a year. The van has carried supplies, gas cans, clothes and even transported refugees to better places. Through this practical gift, we’ve been able to help take care of material needs. The leaders we support on the ground have gone beyond to meet spiritual, emotional and other needs as most refugees suffer greatly, in particular PTSD. Many have turned to the gospel for consolation and salvation.
6. Finally, we’ve helped send Christians to refugee centers. They share the love of God, bible stories, and prayers, while the Spirit of God draws refugees to God’s love and grace. We’ve heard stories of lives truly changed from around the world.
So many of us hurt for the plight of refugees, in particular children. There are some simple ways we can help. You can pray. You can support World Relief at https://www.worldrelief.org or support JordanLewisMissions.orgwhere you can designate to our Middle East fund and designate Refugee. You can volunteer. There’s always something you can do. Together it all adds up to making an impact, however small it may feel.
God bless every refugee on the planet. God really does care about each one. May they find grace and help in their time of need.
Pastor Ron Lewis