According to Amnesty International there are 26 million refugees worldwide, half of which are children. If we add to that the estimated 272 million international migrants, that’s a lot of people moving around. And turning up right at our doorstep!
I don’t fully understand the complexities of the immigration and refugee situations, even after volunteering in refugee camps. So it’s not my intention to discuss the pros and cons. Rather, I want to offer encouragement on how we can reach out to them!
Reaching immigrants and refugees
These people are in our nations because God has brought them, so let’s see it as an aid to completing his Great Commission! He calls us to reach out with love and compassion, but how should we go about reaching these new arrivals?
5 Simple ways to help immigrants and refugees
Let’s look at a few tangible, useful ways can we reach out. Because people have migrated to all nations, and many countries have also taken im refugees.
1. Offer food, clothing, blankets, bikes, etc.
Even individual families can do much in this regard. Many of us can afford to buy a bag of groceries or some or clothing. A lot of us also have overflowing garages, attics, and closets. So offer some of your unused items, in good condition, to families or centers you know of. Things like clothing, bedding, furniture, and even bicycles!
2. Open hospitality centers.
Overnight centers are a great need. But even daytime hospitality points can offer great help. A place to warm-up or cool down with coffee, tea, soup and sandwiches. Or by offering practical help with documents and distributing necessities. Remember, Christ’s love can be seen even though a soup ladle!
3. Hold language and culture courses.
Teaching immigrants the culture and language of their new land can enable them to integrate and overcome culture shock. But remember their children too. Because until new arrivals learn the language, they are limited in helping their own children with schoolwork. Offer to tutor their children. Loving their kids is a great way to win over the hearts of the parents!
4. Be their friend and restore their sense of dignity.
Friendship is one of the greatest gifts we can give. So don’t just treat them like a charity project, but befriend them. Help them regain confidence and see themselves as the persons of worth and dignity they are. Also help them get any necessary counseling for PTSD or other difficulties they may have.
5. Get Bible resources into their hands.
And last, but certainly not least, offer the only lasting and eternal hope by getting Scripture resources into their hands. Christ For All Peoples offers the Jesus Film in many languages. Faith Comes By Hearing (Bible.is) offers drammatized audio in 1471 languages plus gospel films in over 800. And Creation to Christ has downloads of their simple but great Gospel presentation videos in many languages.
The mission field is now next door!
“Go into all the nations,” God says. But not everyone is able to go, and many nations are closed to missionaries. So the Lord has brought them to us: the Mission Field is now right next door! People of all nations, tribes, and tongues. God is asking: “Who will go?” May our answer be, “Here am I, Lord, send me!”
How to find your new neighbors
Perhaps in reading this, you wonder how to find these new neighbors that may be in your area. Well, there’s a great mapping tool, called Mapping Center for Evangelism and Church Growth designed with this in mind. Check it out!
God has brought them: these new neighbors from all over the world. Perhaps now right next door to you! And he wants to make himself known to them – through you and me! So get out there and meet them!
Video via Gospel Frontier Missions.