When I wrote about Syrian refugees a few weeks ago, I said it is not bigoted or unloving — and definitely not un-Christian — to protect the safety of our families and our homeland.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t care about the families fleeing for their lives. And whether they are Christian or Muslim should not matter one bit.
Christ has called us to be wise and gentle, both protecting the innocent and generously giving to those in need. The two are not contradictory.
The question now is how to help the people fleeing from violence thousands of miles away.
And how can we be sure our help is actually doing some good?
What We Can Do Right Now
Setting aside political solutions for moment — because life is more than politics — I’ve really wrestled with how I might help in a way that matters.
These refugees are families just like mine who are simply looking for a safe place to live. And winter is coming. Even in the Mediterranean world, cold kills.
Add to that the chaos of being uprooted from all you know and have known and I can only imagine the suffering they are experiencing now.
Here are 3 concrete things we can all do right now to help Syrian refugees:
I know prayer may not seem like much, but it is not the last resort. In fact, it is the most powerful thing we can do.
I explain more of why that is true in my book A Story Worth Telling. Suffice it to say E.M. bounds was correct: “Prayer is the hand that moves the hand of God.”
Your prayers and mine can alter the course of history. Never doubt it.
Pray specifically that those perpetuating evil would be stopped. Pray that those running for their lives would know peace an experience provision.
Pray that God’s mission of reconciling all things to himself advances even in — and maybe especially in — these trying circumstances.
And don’t just say you are praying, but then not actually do it. Consider fasting to focus your heart on a cause that moves the heart of God.
I’d guess most Americans can’t find Syria on a map, let alone understand why these refugees are running in the first place.
You can’t make informed decisions or speak intelligently as an influencer until you understand more about the situation.
Our 24/7 news cycle has given us enough talking heads already who don’t seem to understand the dynamics of the situation. A little googling can go along way toward understanding the geography and history of the region.If you want some good reads on ISIS and the threat it poses, try here, here, or here.
This is where it get’s real. We have been blessed beyond measure here in the US, both in relative safety and abundant resources.
What if you could hand food and clothing to those refugees right now in the name of Jesus? Would you do it?
Good news — now you can.
My friends at Operation Mobilization are on the ground right now greeting refugees from Syria and Iraq. They are providing critical food for families and winter provisions as the season changes.
But what I love most about OM is that their mission is providing long-term help, not just meeting temporary needs.
They have missionaries on the ground already embedded in the communities most affected by the refugees — on the island of Lesbos, Greece, at the border crossings in Macedonia and Serbia, and in other places across the Balkans, Hungary, Montenegro, Austria, and Germany.
And they are sending more.
They partner with local churches and international agencies to help those in need on the ground. Not just for a moment, but for the long-term.
They’ve been doing this successfully for decades and are recognized as a UNHCR partner organization.
Over 6,800 workers, representing 100 nationalities, serve in the OM family of ministries, bringing God’s unchanging truth to literally millions every year.
What You Can Give to Refugees
Will you join with me to share the love of Christ this Christmas to send a Refugee Food Pack or a Refugee Winter Care Pack?
Or you can help fund their efforts to get the Gospel in the hands of these refugees, to nourish not just their bodies but their souls, as well.
- They are printing 50,000 copies of a popular illustrated story of the Gospel message translated into Farsi and Arabic. The total cost of this printing will be $10,000.
- They are preparing to offer Al Massira courses an Arabic language Bible Study course. In order to offer the courses, we need to invest in training leaders. Estimated cost is $100,000 to launch these courses.
- They are printing 320,000 Gospels of Luke in side-by-side German & Arabic with explanations in Arabic, 1,600 full New Testaments in Arabic, 3,000 children’s books and 3,000 tracts. Part of this cost has been covered already, the remaining cost is $28,000.
If you feel led to give to support these efforts, you can do so with a click here.
Supporting Operation Mobilization in their Refugee Crisis Response efforts is a concrete step we can all take to be Christ’s hands and feet in a place of need.
It’s a way for us as Christians to show compassion to the Syrian refugees, regardless of political disagreements.
After all, it could be my family, or yours, in need of help next time.