Over 60 million people are refugees today. Globally, one out of every 122 people is either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum. If this were the population of a country, it would be the world’s 24th biggest!
Due to militant groups in the Middle East, a new refugee crises has been occurring now for some time, especially from Syria and Iraq. There are 13.5 million refugee’s just from Syria alone that have been identified! Many have been trying to find asylum in European countries. Germany took in 1.1 million refugees last year (2015). Sweden’s population is now made up of 20% immigrants, of which 1.6 million are Muslims. Sweden has more immigrants per capita than any other European country. Today, there are 2.9 million Muslims living in Great Britain, approximately 5% of the population. This part of the population is multiplying by 75% every 10 years. Within the next 35 years the Muslim population of Great Britain will be 26 million, while the birth rate of Britain’s non-Muslim population will shrink.
We can ignore statistics like this, but the fact is that the mission field we believed was unapproachable in the Middle East, has now arrived in our communities. The next few years are crucial for the church and believers in Jesus Christ. Fear of militant groups within the immigrants has somehow paralyzed us, but we have the greatest life transforming message to proclaim. The early Church prayed for the person who was attacking the first Christians and wanted to kill them. To their surprise, God heard their prayer and revealed himself to Saul, and that is why the Church could spread rapidly. In turn, we were given much instruction from his hand in the New Testament.
Be bold! Find out where the new immigrants are! Pray for them! Offer your friendship! Find Scriptures and Christian material for them. We have material that can be purchased (contact us for more information) or you can donate here to ensure more goes to/can be printed for those in need. For example, we just had some of our Basic Series books translated and printed into Arabic and now being distributed! We also have plans, possibilities and open doors (if more funding can be secured) to initiate programs in Sweden and Britain to serve and reach out to immigrants meeting physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
But also perhaps forgotten in the midst of the crises of refugees from the Middle East, is the reality of refugee’s suffering in Ukraine. There are more than 1.5 million refugees from the east of Ukraine and Crimea. These people have suffered from war between Ukraine & Russia. Some family’s literally have to pack their suitcases and leave their cities during 24 hours because of fighting. Moving to new place refugees facing a problem with place to live, have a hard time to find job, breaking relationship with friends and relatives.
During our Christmas program we visited some of them and they were so thankful just for basic things like soap, shampoo and toothpaste. Also last year because of the efforts of many people we were able to send some clothes to East of Ukraine and have about 90 refugee-kids for our 10-days summer camps, which we are planning again for this year, even one in Eastern Ukraine near the conflict zone. (Help us serve these kids: Summer Camps).
Now is the time to serve! We invite you to pray and partner with us in our efforts this year as we seek to step up our efforts to serve immigrants and refugees.
***For further reading on this subject, we recommend a new, “must read” book called Serving God in a Migrant Crisis: Ministry to People on the Move.