Responding to the Refugee Crisis
What does love look like? This is the question that has been rolling around in my head for the past few months. What does love look like here, now, in this circumstance? As I’ve been reading and wrestling with God, I see that love is sacrificial; it doesn’t get irritated, it forgets past wrongs and it’s willing to suffer if that means freedom for someone else. I’ve found the kind of love that stops and enters in when faced with the broken and hurting; the kind of love that would let their reputation be completely slandered in order to show honour to another. This kind of love makes sure that you know you are seen. It gives dignity instead of pity and extends forgiveness and mercy to even the most horrendous of oppressors.
Living in a world that is currently faced with one of the most severe refugee crisis’ in human history, these questions are not theory. We can’t deny the hard reality that people just like you and me, students, grandparents, and even newly weds; who had homes, jobs and dreams are now forced to leave their comforts, cultures and everything that is normal behind them, as they enter into the unknown.
Working with YWAM in Australia, I too live in a country that is not my own. I am always entering into cultures that are foreign to me but this was by choice. God has put a passion and desire in me to love living this way, and still it comes with daily challenges. For these dear ones it’s not the same; plagued by trauma and fear they flee in the hope of merely surviving. Though sometimes, even their “safe havens” don’t extend a warm welcome, and they have to learn a whole new way of life whether they want to or not.
We were born in this generation, in this part of His-story and it’s no accident. God calls us to enter into our world and do what He did. Specifically, God has asked me to lead a DTS that will focus on working with Syrian Refugees. God’s heart for the foreigner, the widow and the orphan is so clearly expressed through scripture; He hears their cries and longs for people who will go. People are worthy; not to be pitied, or looked down on, they are beautiful, brave and infinitely valuable.
I don’t have to have a degree to love, I don’t have to have experience to love, or important letters at the end of my name. All I have to do is give of myself, my ears, my hands, my time and my prayers.
When God was sharing His heart with me about the school, I decided to attend a local forum about the circumstances of arriving refugees and I began to feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of it all. Shocked by the incredible vulnerability of refugees living in a foreign land and how easily they can be exploited in our world, I was deeply sobered. Wanting to run away, God stopped me in my tracks, turned me around, and challenged me that I can give people hope. I can be a part of helping them move forward in their lives with dignity and wholeness. He reminded me that I don’t have to have a degree to love, I don’t have to have experience to love, or important letters at the end of my name. All I have to do is give of myself, my ears, my hands, my time and my prayers.
Our mission is to love always; each person, one at a time. To really see people, not number them, and to enter into their pain, not give them a bandaid to cover it up. It doesn’t matter if it’s our next door neighbour, a celebrity in Hollywood or someone seeking refuge, we are called to love. This is not an easy path and it costs us everything, but Jesus told us: “Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world but forfeit his soul?”