CHRISTIANS & REFUGEES/IMMIGRANTS: AN INTIMATE VIEW

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April 4, 2016 by J. Truett Glen

I recently received an update from an old student of mine, who has been trying to listen for what direction our Lord would have them move in next. This beloved friend is exploring what it would look like to spend years reaching out to the flood of refugees coming into Europe, and they decided to test those complex waters with a two week visit to the ground zero of the refugee/immigration crisis. No matter what your socio-political convictions on refugee and immigration policies, I ask that you take a listen to this intimate glimpse of how the Spirit of God works on and among his image bearers, especially those who are weak, deceived, broken, afraid, bitter, frustrated, and distant from him voice. Notice also how he works in the image bearers who call him Lord, and those that walk as ambassadors of his grace.

“Hello all!

Made it safely back to the states Tuesday night, and have had a couple of days in Atlanta to process the trip before I go home tonight.  Thank you all so much for your prayers and support.  God showed Himself during the short 2 weeks in Greece… in so many good ways, and so many hard ways.  The prayers of saints all over the world for this island and situation were more tangible on this trip than any ministry trip I’ve ever participated in.

God LOVES the poor, helpless, and oppressed – and if any group fits this bill, it’s the refugees currently in Greece.  And God is so present in the work being done at the camps on Lesvos.

I could write all about ways the EU deal is affecting refugees, but I’d rather share a story of the Holy Spirit’s guidance and work in the midst of the situation…

My team worked many night shifts at a transitional camp. Typically, refugees only spend a few hours at this camp before being transported to the main camp here.  Just after the EU deal took effect, we received a group of 25 refugees – mostly Afghan, one Syrian, and one Iranian.  At this point, the UN had stopped transporting refugees(a protest against the eu deal) so this group ended up staying with us for a couple of days.  Over this time we started developing relationships with these individuals, many of whom spoke English well.

Two days after this group was transported to the main camp, we went to spend the afternoon with refugees at that camp.  Just before we arrived, three of us (there were only 4 in our group) began to feel really uneasy about going into the camp.  We decided to spend some time in prayer beforehand – asking the Lord to make it clear if we weren’t supposed to be there.  The police let us in, but we still felt uneasy so we went into a tent and  spent more time in prayer – reading scripture aloud over each other – inviting the Lord into the camp, volunteer interactions, situations with refugees.  After about an hour and a half, we started walking through the camp, waiting for the Lord to lead us.

We helped feed dinner to the refugees – then, as night began to fall, individuals we had met at the camp began to approach us with direct questions about Christianity.  We spoke with these individuals about Christianity and the gospel openly for over 2 hours!  At one point, I looked around and realized every person on our team was speaking with a different group of refugees.  A man and his sister were asking me questions about how my God could allow so much suffering in the world, and as I spoke with them I could hear another team member quoting direct scripture to a group of 4 refugees.  One of these men agreed to read the gospel of John that night, and asked to continue the conversation the next day!

We were able to return the next two days and continue some of these conversations!  Our Iranian friend took a Bible from us, and is going to spend time reading it!

Even though there is much conflict and spiritual warfare in this camp – even though none of these people accepted Christ while we were there – God so clearly worked that day in the camp.  God is so evident in this situation and the work being done with refugees.

The time I spent in Greece was hard in so many ways.  So many stories are full of tragedy – so much hurt, pain, hopelessness.  But that’s where God meets people.  And he can touch that better than anything in this world because He is Truth and Love.  Your prayers were an influential part of this trip – and for that I thank you.

God also spoke to me and led me in some good directions for the future during this trip, and I’m currently seeking Him and trying to figure out some more details for ministry very soon.

With so much thankfulness to the Lord and to you all, the church.”

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