Stepping Beyond the Tents

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Every year we remember refugees on World Refugee Day and we constantly see the boats floating in the ocean and the rows of tents in the growing camps. But do we really understand these individuals with their struggles and opportunities? Step beyond the tents and understand some of the stats and debunk some of the myths about the global refugee crisis.





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Engaging through Prayer

Merciful Father, bless every refugee entrepreneur who is rebuilding life and community in a new place. Heal the wounds of trauma, especially among the children. Let them not turn against you because of it, but let them see it as "Joseph" saw his experience, "You meant to harm me, but God intended it for a good purpose." (Genesis 50:20)

 

Personal Reflection

Have you ever been in limbo? You might have been between jobs, between living situations, or without a car or access to local transport? These are small challenges compared to what refugees face. Millions are trapped in a "no-man's land" between the world and their homes. Many cannot move forward and also cannot go back. If you have felt like this even in a small way you have a sense for what they might be going through. But at the same time you know that there is always hope. The same is true for refugees. Use this infographic to raise awareness but also to educate people about the ways refugees are coping and moving forward with their lives even in tough situations. How does God want you to move beyond the transition in your own life and could you learn from the many stories of perseverance coming out of refugee camps around the world?


Engaging the Church

What can your church do to walk alongside the refugees of the world? Have you considered possible short-term trips to bless those stuck in camps? How about working with resettled refugees in your own communities? How might you take lessons from those displaced in the Bible and integrate them into sermons or Sunday school lessons to help people in your church imagine what it must be like to flee from home with no certainty of the future? Could you brainstorm with your congregation about what kinds of help they would want if that happened to them? Then find ways to offer that help to those stuck in that very situation in your home country or around the world.

 

Organizational Application

So many of the unreached peoples of the world are finding their way into refugee camps and seeking resettlement or the ability to go home. So people who might not have been able to engage with a Christian are now living in the tent next to a believer. What is your organization doing to support the church within refugee camps and resettlement programs? How are you engaging the lost? What could you do to provide hope, encouragement and a smile on the faces of so many stuck in limbo? Connect with your staff or partners in areas with high numbers of refugees and ask them how your organization and the church in your country can help. If you are in a country with many refugees, consider how you can communicate the needs you are identifying with the broader church.

Sources

 

1

UN High Commission on Refugees, Mid-Year Trends 2014, http://www.unhcr.org/54aa91d89.html

2

Refugee Economies: Rethinking Popular Assumptions, Humanitarian Innovation Project, University of Oxford, June 2014. By Betts, Bloom, Kaplan and Omata.

http://www.rsc.ox.ac.uk/files/publications/other/refugee-economies-2014.pdf

3

UN Global Issues Briefing Paper on Refugees,

http://www.un.org/en/globalissues/briefingpapers/refugees/

4

World Bank Topics in Development: Migration, Remittances, Diaspora and Development

http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS

/0,,contentMDK:21924020~pagePK:5105988~piPK:360975~theSitePK:214971,00.html

5

Accessing Services in the City: The Significance of Urban Refugee-Host Relations in Cameroon, Indonesia and Pakistan, Church World Service, New York, Immigration and Refugee Program, February 2013.


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