There are currently 70.8 million forcibly displaced people worldwide of which 25.9 million are refugees and 3.5 million are asylum seekers (February 2020). Unfortunately, as more countries experience unrest, those numbers continue to rise as seen from recent events in Venezuela. Some of these "millions" are single adults or children, many are parents with young families, several have fled with older parents. Each one is looking for a place to call home. Any place to call home.
As the refugee crisis continues, we can expect these numbers to rise. The Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative and the Global Compact on Refugees are working with global partners looking for ways to ease the pressure on host countries and beyond traditional means of finding a place for those have been forcibly displaced.
These numbers represent an unprecedented opportunity for God's people to be His hands, feet and voice in the world today. States and organizations are looking for solutions. Only God's people who have experienced the grace of God personally have the tools and capacity to respond authentically, to speak truth and love, to bring hope and encouragment to those losing hope. To love.
And so we ask, How do we respond to the ever increasing emails we receive?
- At the very least, you have the opportunity to be a friendly voice - to say you have received the email, and let them know whether you are aware of the situation in their country (Africa, Pakistan, Syria, etc).
- Be honest about why you cannot sponsor them at this time. Just as we do not know what it is like to be a refugee, they do not know the challenges and roadblocks we encounter as we try to help.
- Pray for them before you delete the email, but there is no need to tell the refugee that you are praying for them. At this point in their journey, although they are thankful for prayers, they are desperate for action.
Every congregation will have to find their own way to engage, but I am certain that engage we must. Perhaps a few individuals in your congregation would respond to emails as their ministry. A basic response template can be modified to be personal to each inquiry. You are welcome to