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10 Practical Ways to Help Refugees

June 3, 2014

Pray for refugees
Refugees will be quick to tell you that they need and welcome your prayers on their behalf. See 10 Specific Prayer Topics for Refugees for more details.

Extend hospitality
We start by giving God permission to lead us beyond our comfort zones. We then need to respond to the needs of refugees in our communities and offer them our friendship by visiting them and inviting them into our homes and churches. God will lead us from there. Let Matthew 25.34-36 be our guide.

The greatest thing any of us can do to welcome refugees into our communities is to extend relationship to them. While not as tangible as providing specific services or meeting practical needs, the ministry of hospitality brings comfort, peace and hope to the heart, mind and soul of those who have been uprooted.

Read also:

The Beginning of a Refugee Story
The ‘Refugee Highway’ Map [hi-res jpg]
10 Common Myths about Refugees

Why Christians Should Care about Refugees
Refugees in the Bible [pdf]

A Model Prayer for World Refugee Sunday
10 Specific Prayer Topics for Refugees

10 Practical Ways to Help Refugees
What Local Church Leaders Can Do
Refugee Highway Partnership Resources in Various Languages

Encourage our faith communities to be intentional about welcoming refugees into our communities
Church leaders will do well to encourage and enable our faith communities to actively welcome refugees in our communities. Emphasize that refugees are not only in need of our welcome, but that God will also likely use them to enrich our faith and lives as we develop relationships together. Be creative. If you would like some ideas, contact the Refugee Highway Partnership (www.refugeehighway.net).

Practical Assistance
While refugees are more than people in need, they do face many challenges. They often are in need of help with things like finding affordable housing, finding employment, learning the language of their country of refuge, navigating social welfare system, understanding the local school system, navigating public transportation, understanding their new culture, etc.

Speak up on behalf of refugees – challenge myths and prejudice
Many biblical texts include forcible displacement. Be sure to bring that out when preaching and teaching. Help educate your faith community concerning the reality that God is often at work in profound ways in and through the lives of uprooted people.

You can find a list of refugees in the Bible on the website of Refugee Highway Partnership member IAFR at www.iafr.org/ministry-resources/handouts.

Explore opportunities for collaboration with Christian agencies serving refugees
Contact Refugee Agencies to see how you can serve in volunteer, short-term and long-term capacities. If you need help identifying a refugee agency, contact the Refugee Highway Partnership for assistance (www.refugeehighway.net).

Refugee Highway Partnership – participate in a regional gathering
The Refugee Highway Partnership, a WEA global partner, brings together Christians, churches and Christian agencies with a burden to welcome and care for forcibly displaced people. We have active regions in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, North America and South Asia. Many regions hold annual round table gatherings for a time of mutual learning, equipping and encouragement. See www.refugeehighway.net to see when the next round table will be offered in your region of the world.

Partner with local refugee resettlement agencies
Contact a local refugee resettlement agency to learn how you and your church can partner with them to help a refugee family make your community their new home. Contact the Refugee Highway Partnership via the website if you need assistance in identifying a local resettlement agency in your community (www.refugeehighway.net).

Provide Bibles for Refugees
When refugees flee their homes, few have opportunity to pack their Bibles. Refugee Highway Partnership member, IAFR, is partnering with refugee churches in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya (population 150,000) to provide them with Bibles. Not only is the Bible a source of hope and comfort, each donated Bible is a tangible expression that they are not forgotten by the church-at-large. Learn more at www.iafr.org.

Provide roofing materials for refugee churches
Refugee camps are often found where the climate and living conditions are inhospitable. Refugee churches often struggle to find the resources to cover their mud and thatch church buildings with metal sheeting that protects them from the harsh elements. IAFR is partnering with refugee churches in Kenya and Malawi to help roof their buildings with metal sheets. The roofing gives them a safe meeting place to gather and worship, and communicates that they are not forgotten by the church-at-large. You can help (www.iafr.org/donate).
 

Provided by Tom Albinson, WEA Ambassador for Refugees and Displaced People