Day Six: Praying for those hosting refugees

Maja, the Slovenia country director of a major humanitarian organization, was enjoying a post-church lunch with friends when she received the phone call: “Get prepared. There are several thousand refugees approaching the Slovenian border.” A few hours later, she was among those who welcomed the first refugees into this tiny country of only two million people.

All around the world, there are stories of small countries and ordinary people stepping out of their comfort zones to welcome refugees however they are able – in some cases, at great sacrifice.

“During my months of working with refugees, I have not encountered even one for whom Jesus didn’t die – no matter how dirty, scared, cold, hungry, smelly, mocked, sick, small, or badly treated they were.

Lebanon, a country of only 4 million people, has registered more than a million Syrian refugees, straining the small nation’s social services and infrastructure.

In Uganda, which struggles with poverty among its own people, South Sudanese refugees are given land and the opportunity to work – a chance to really build a life for themselves.

A tour guide in Athens, Greece saw more and more refugees arriving every week, and suggested to her husband they offer their garden guesthouse to a refugee family.

“I think everybody must think, it could be ourselves in this situation,” she said. “I don’t believe that private actions can solve the problem, but I think maybe if we are each able to change even one life, that is a lot.”

An American pastor was approached about a group of 13 recently resettled refugees from Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC seeking a church. None of the refugees speak English, but they are still regular church attendees, and the church has gone out of its way to help them adjust to their new life.

“I always thought of refugees as somebody outside of this country,” Pastor Ebenezer Samuel said. “But they are here and I’m thankful to God for bringing them to us. Through the love the church can show we hope they feel like part of a greater family now.”

Today, pray for…

  • those following Christ’s example of compassionate service by welcoming refugees and helping them rebuild their lives.
  • those opening their homes, communities and countries – even when their own resources are scarce – to welcome those fleeing conflict and persecution.
  • those who may be struggling to overcome their fear of foreigners, that they will open their hearts to God’s calling and find the courage to live out their faith.

Dear Father –

We live in challenging times full of fear and uncertainty. Help us to trust in you and follow your example of mercy and love. Guide us in our efforts to love our neighbor, so that when we meet in heaven we shall hear you say, “I was a stranger, and you invited me in.”

In the name of Christ,

Amen

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