Stories of Refugees Help Challenge US Volunteer’s Narrow View of the World

Syrian Kurds arrive at a camp for refugees in northern Iraq. All over the world, thousands of people are moving across borders, leaving everything familiar so that they can escape unrest or persecution in their countries. It’s a huge crisis, but it has also opened doors for Christ followers to share the gospel. IMB photo

RICHMOND, Va. (BP) — Remember back in 2015 when Syria’s refugees were flooding out of the country in record numbers? Thousands died crossing a sea on what should have been a 45-minute boat journey. Rescue and relief organizations were out in record number.

In the years since, many more refugees have filled the news cycle. More than a million Rohingya people have reportedly been forced out of their homes in Myanmar, taking shelter in Bangladesh, Malaysia and Thailand with no hope or plan for the future. Uganda is reportedly also hosting more than a million refugees from South Sudan. And refugees from Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Nigeria join Syrians in their quest to somehow get beyond the reach of terrorist groups.

But even though there are reportedly more refugees today than ever before in recorded history, for some of them, their story has led them to a freedom they never knew possible. God is working through churches and International Mission Board workers in the midst of their suffering to accomplish the highest good — His name being proclaimed by every tongue, nation, tribe and people.

Pastor Bryant Wright said he and his church, Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., have invested heavily in refugee ministry both at home and overseas.

“It’s a humanitarian disaster,” noted Bryant, who announcedin November that this church will begin a search for his successor. “It just makes sense to me to reach out with love and concern to them rather than withdrawing in fear. We are not naive about the dangers; we know they are there. But that doesn’t change our calling to reach out with the love of Christ.”

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Source: Baptist Press