The number of people in our world displaced from their homes by violence and persecution is unprecedented in human history. By the end of 2014, nearly 60 million people were forcibly displaced, with nearly a third – 20 million – living outside of their countries as refugees. Desperate for protection and surrounded by unfamiliar, sometimes unwelcoming faces, refugees are truly some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
By far the greatest force driving the crisis is Syria. In 2011, peaceful protests were met with violence from the Syrian government, instigating a complex civil war that persists to this day. Among the most unfortunate consequences of the chaos has been the expansion of the so-called Islamic State, one of numerous factions opposing the Syrian government and threatening civilians in both Syria and Iraq.
The conflict has been devastating for the people of the region. Nearly half of Syria’s population of 22 million is thought to be displaced or killed. Of those, 4 million Syrians have now taken refuge in neighboring countries like Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, and Lebanon. Finding little stability there yet unable to return home, many refugees have taken unimaginable risks to travel north to Europe, on foot or by sea, where they will plead for the opportunity to rebuild their lives in peace and security. Others who are physically unable to make the arduous journey have no choice but to wait, desperately hoping for a long-term solution for their increasingly dire situation.
World Relief’s mission is empowering the local Church – wherever local happens to be – to serve the most vulnerable. No other group of people on the planet is called or positioned like the Church to respond to crises like the one we face today. World Relief is currently one of the only organizations mobilizing and equipping Christians to serve refugees in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States.
World Relief is working with local churches to provide urgent supplies in Jordan, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq meeting practical needs at this critical time, supplying temporary shelters, hygiene items, trauma therapy for women and children, and more.
Through partnerships with local organizations and churches, the World Relief office in Jordan is providing non-food items to displaced Syrian refugee families, and their host families, as well as sponsoring child friendly spaces for mothers and children. World Relief Germany is working to train and equip churches to welcome the massive influx of refugees into Europe.
In addition, World Relief has been empowering local churches to resettle refugees in the United States for more than 35 years. Many refugees have come to the U.S. as a direct result of the Syrian Crisis and many more are expected in the coming months.
WORLD RELIEF IS on the ground IN THE MIDDLE EAST, EUROPE AND THE IN U.S.
Over half the Syrian population has been uprooted by conflict and more than four million people have fled the country. World Relief is working with local churches to provide urgent supplies in Jordan, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq meeting practical needs at this critical time. Join World Relief and the Church in the Middle East in supplying temporary shelters, hygiene items, trauma therapy for women and children, and more. Together, we can actively love this vulnerable population.
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled violence in their home country and made the long and arduous journey to Europe. Germany alone will likely become home to over 800,000 Syrians. You can help empower local churches in Europe as they welcome and serve these vulnerable populations, helping them find jobs, acquire a new language, and find housing.
The U.S has a history of resettling refugees: this year, the country will admit as many as 85,000 refugees from various parts of the world. In locations throughout the United States, World Relief partners with local churches to help refugees integrate into our communities, welcoming them as our faith compels us to do and providing help with housing, employment, and cultural adjustment.
WHY WE STAND WITH REFUGEES
Throughout the Bible, we are repeatedly told that God loves and cares for foreigners, and that he expects his people to do so, also. Jesus himself was a refugee, forced to flee the genocidal government of King Herod, and he says that when we welcome a stranger, we welcome him. “The Lord watches over the foreigner, and sustains the fatherless and the widow” (Psalm 146:9 NIV). Refugees are uniquely vulnerable individuals who have fled persecution. Our biblical faith compels us to respond to their plight with compassion and hospitality.
World Relief began in 1944 as the War Relief Commission, the rebuilding response of churches throughout the United States to a war in Europe that had fueled an enormous refugee crisis. Since the late 1970s, World Relief has empowered local churches to resettle more than 250,000 refugees within the U.S. Facing the greatest global refugee crisis since World War II, it’s time for the Church to rise up once again.
Refugees are not just vulnerable: they are also resilient and resourceful. While they may have needs up front, refugee shave a long-term positive impact on the economies of the nations that receive them. They also bless the Church in the receiving country: many bring with them a vibrant, tested faith in Christ, and many more might encounter Jesus for the first time as they are welcomed by local churches.
He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners… Deuteronomy 10:18-19 (NIV)
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