Remind Christians Everywhere
Opportunities to serve refugees in Europe
Our team has been praying for opportunities to serve refugees in Europe. This spring I attended a conference with many European nationals that are involved in diverse phases of refugee ministry. Before I left for the conference, the team put together some donations for families on the Serbia-Hungary border. The need is particularly great there since Hungary allows only five refugees in per day. It was still very cold, and a Serbian pastor in our network had especially requested donations of gloves, warm socks, and scarves. Our team went through our own closets to find items we could share. We also used funds from the Wesleyan Refugee Relief Fund to purchase new items. We squeezed everything into backpacks, including a yellow backpack, and I delivered them to the conference.
The yellow backpack
During the conference, some of the donations were delivered to the refugee camp. One of my new friends was in the group making the trip to the camp. He had been up late the night before, praying that God would show him what to take and who to give it to. He went early in the morning to look through the donations we had all collected. When he came across a backpack, he found it was already loaded with exactly what he was looking for! He felt that God had directed him to the yellow backpack and was confident that God had arranged for it to be there when he needed it!
The group traveled to the border camp. However, when they arrived, the authorities would not allow the team to have any communication with the refugees or to distribute any of the relief items they had brought. But the pastor had a Plan B. He knew of another camp about an hour’s drive away—an abandoned brick factory where refugees lived while waiting for an opportunity to travel further.
At the factory they met 60 Pakistani Muslims who had been living there for a few weeks. I imagine that God smiled as the group realized how perfectly matched they were for Plan B. One member of the group had previously lived in Pakistan for 17 years and spoke the mother tongue! Another person shared the gospel with them in their language using a new solar powered audio player. And my friend quickly found someone who desperately needed the yellow backpack. The contents were distributed to many grateful people.
Remind Christians everywhere
As this team was preparing to leave, they met an Afghan man who was standing apart from the larger group. When he heard why they had visited this factory, he told the group that he was also a Christian. In fact, he had left Afghanistan with a larger group, but they abandoned him when he shared about his faith. As a result, he was afraid of what the Pakistanis might do to him. The team asked how they could help. He told them that in Christ, he had all that he needed. He asked only that they remind Christians everywhere that they have brothers and sisters who need their prayers as they travel the refugee highway.
Network of refugee assistance
It was so encouraging to hear the stories of God on the move. A network of refugee assistance is being built across Europe. Some are
- on the front lines receiving refugees off the boats in Italy and Greece;
- helping refugees with legal aid, assisting unaccompanied minors, or building smartphone apps to help migrants on their journey;
- helping with language lessons, finding Christian families to mentor refugees, and assisting with integration.
Best of all—I met many who are pastoring churches for refugees. Quite a few of them are former refugees themselves.
God’s power, your prayers
All of this work depends on God’s power and your prayers. You are an answer to prayer when you give to the Wesleyan Refugee Relief Fund!
*Names omitted for security reasons.
Photo Credit: Pictures included with this article (with the exception of the yellow backpack picture) are of refugees, mostly from Afghanistan and Pakistan, waiting in Serbia in January 2017. iStock.com/Nebojsa Markovic