I wonder what goes through your mind when you are continually bombarded by the countless pleas for adding the masses of homeless migrants and refugees streaming across the borders into Europe and beyond? No doubt, this often leads to frustration as to what difference I really can make in this complex and huge dilemma facing our generation. One of the dangers in this regard is for the Church to become immune to the challenge, hoping that the problem will eventually go away. I can`t help but think of reaction of the Lord Jesus when he looked at the crowds as he passed through the towns and villages on his mission of healing and teaching on the Kingdom of God:
“When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36.
Hearing of the reports of yet another consultation on the Refugee crisis, has served to remind me again of the responsibility of God`s people to be accurately informed in order to participate and contribute wherever possible, but at the very least to pray to the “Lord of the Harvest to send workers” (v37) into this ripe harvest of hurting and lost souls. As many are aware, this past week in Budapest, Hungary saw hundreds of Christian workers from various countries gather to worship, learn as they sought to engage the challenge. This report comes from SIM Missionary, Henry Jooste:
“Our day started with a worship service and some testimonies from a number of refugees. While their stories about their journey to Europe were sad to hear, and caused much trauma, the end result of them coming to faith and finding a new life was greatly encouraging. A number of reports were presented by various organizations about the progress being made in ministry to displaced people and refugees in Europe.
Patrick Johnson, author of Operation World was the plenary speaker. He gave an encouraging message showing the positive impact of refugees in various countries. As usual, Johnson also gave some interesting statistics on not only refugee ministry, but progress made around the world in this regard. Much of the global ministry taking place in the context of a world in crisis. These are sobering times in which we are called to reflect on our Christian stance and potential involvement regarding this crisis. Much prayer is needed, together with wise consideration before a commitment should be made. A very interesting workshop on networking was led by Eldon Porter as well.
In the afternoon, there was a very enlightening workshop hosted on human trafficking and how perpetrators are using the refugee crises as a cover to do their inhumane work. Needless to say, this was very emotional and traumatic to learn about and very much worse for those desperate victims being used and suffering unspeakable horrors.
So much more positive action and active involvement is needed by Christians, everywhere. Many ideas and practical steps were shared on how churches can become involved, allow me to share a few examples in this regard, under the heading:
The Gap the Church can Fill
- Coming alongside of existing NGO`s to assist and augment efforts
- Examples of existing Engagement:
- Christian-run shelters and Day Centres
- Foster Care programmes
- Outreach to children living outside of the Shelters
- Relationship with government Shelters to enable visits and initiatives
- Collaboration with anti-trafficking Ministries
Another long day with an overload of information and emotional roller coaster rides…”
Friends, let us continue to pray for wisdom for those directly involved in these crucial ministries and for the Lord of the Harvest to stir our own hearts as to the role that He may be calling us to fulfill in the coming days.
Join us this coming Sunday as Walter Diem who is the Serving In Missions Director for Europe and West Africa, who will be sharing with us on: “Wow that is heaven on earth! A treasure in jars of clay.” from 2 Corinthians 4:5-7.