These days, it seems you can’t go very long without coming upon a news update from the refugee crisis in the Middle East, or the Syrian Civil War that created it. Since the beginning, The Syrian War has evolved from minor protests into one of the major news stories of this decade.
Since 2011, more than 6 million Syrian refugees have been displaced and are facing hunger and hardship. In the midst of a controversial travel ban in the U.S. many are asking the question: what is the best way for us to help Syrian refugees? As Christians, you and I cannot simply turn a blind eye to this heartbreak… but identifying the most effective way to respond to the refugee crisis has been difficult!
The Trouble with Sending Aid to Refugee Camps
Because of the danger involved in reaching out to a war torn area many charities have struggled to effectively give aid to those in desperate need.
The BBC has reported that “Food has increasingly been used as a weapon, with aid often diverted onto black markets or into government-approved areas.” For Christian organizations, there is even more trouble because of the extreme hatred toward believers by many in the refugee camps, especially in areas with known ties to terrorism. With nowhere for refugees to go and very limited ways for them to receive aid, how can we show the love of Christ to those who are desperate and hurting?
Finding the Right Approach
In order to truly reach refugees with lifesaving aid and the Gospel message, we need to rethink the approach. Call of Hope has been working in refugee camps since the beginning of the crisis in 2011, but unlike traditional mission organizations that send individuals from the US, Call of Hope works directly with highly trained nationals who carry out the work in their respective countries.
Today, more than 200 theologically trained former Muslims are reaching the world of Islam with the hope that is found only in Jesus. In Lebanon, where nearly 2 million refugees have settled, Call of Hope frontline workers are operating a school for the blind and disabled, and planting churches in the heart of the refugee camps.
But how can we preach the Gospel message without working to improve the situation of those who are in desperate need? That is why we also provide food parcels, blankets, fuel for diesel heaters, and other necessities. By working with indigenous co-workers, we have been able to overcome hurdles that have plagued many organizations and ensure that aid is given to those who need it most.
A Testimony of God’s Faithfulness in the Refugee Camps
Providing aid is only the beginning, an effective door that opens hearts to the Gospel! For Asil, one refugee woman in Lebanon, the hope she found in Christ, was worth the pain of life as a refugee.
Before the war, Asil lived a comfortable life with her husband and 4 beautiful children in a happy home in Syria. Fleeing for their lives, Asil and her family escaped to the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon where they faced below freezing winters, and inadequate food and only makeshift tents for shelter.
One day Asil heard that Call of Hope was offering food and assistance to those in need – desperate and looking for any help she could get, she began to visit the Call of Hope center. Asil heard the preaching of a frontline worker and was overwhelmed with curiosity about Jesus. After several months of counseling from Call of Hope workers, she received Jesus as her savior and she has since become an eager witness, leading her friends and family in the refugee camp to Christ.
Even in the midst of intense persecution and the tragedy of life as a refugee, Asil still says “I am thankful for the war in Syria, because without it, I would never have known the love of Jesus.”
Through the work of frontline workers in refugee camps, we have seen former terrorists come to Christ and many have received lifesaving aid and hope in a time of true desperation.
How Can You Help a Refugee Family?
There may be a temporary ban on immigrants from some Muslim nations, but there isn’t a ban on helping refugees.
Our frontline workers in the refugee camps ask sincerely for our prayers. Additionally, with a small gift of $26 you can be a part of the solution by helping to feed, clothe, and minister to a family of 4 in the refugee camps of Lebanon for a whole month.
100% of all donations are tax deductible and go directly to a refugee family in need. Will you be a part of the solution today?