We’ve all heard the numbers, numbers so big they defy comprehension: 60 million displaced people worldwide; 20 million are refugees; and from the fighting in Syria alone, more than 4.5 million people have fled the country and 6.5 million more are internally displaced. It is one of the greatest humanitarian crises in history. Even many places of refuge have now also become precarious, if not downright deadly, as food and water run scarce, sanitation lapses, and predators exploit the chaos and desperation in the makeshift camps that many refugees now call home. Children are especially and increasingly at risk: young men and boys are kidnapped and conscripted; girls are married off as young as 12 in efforts to keep them safe; many children have been sexually abused as the camps’ security forces struggle to keep pace with the growing influx of people and the depletion of resources. Those individuals and families who have escaped to other countries often find their new neighbors resentful and threatening. Unable to find work, bullied and despised for the strain they put on the local economy, many refugees move outside the cities and live in squalor in decaying structures, miles from supplies or assistance.
It is our responsibility as the Body of Christ sacrificially to care for refugees, knowing that God commands us “to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners…”(Deut. 10:19). As American Christians, this rings doubly true. Concern for our national security, indifference, or perhaps simply the overwhelming scope of the problem has paralyzed and distracted us from seeing the amazing opportunity that we have to share the love and hope of Jesus Christ with those most in need of His grace. Never has it been so essential to put feet on our faith.
So how do we address these fears and challenges so that we can reclaim the power of Christ to make a difference? In this three-part series, we will begin laying the foundation for action by bringing awareness to the crisis in Syria and sharing factual information on the refugees. From there, we will look at ways that FPC can respond to the disaster as Christ would have done, remembering His words: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). Though the task is daunting, Proverbs tells us, “in their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps” (16:9). Here, together we will take that first step, confident in the knowledge that God does His best work in the midst of the impossible.
Please click on the links below for information and articles on the crisis from a Christian perspective.