Tuesday, September 18, 2012

LIfe as a Refugee...

The Old Testament teaches us that to take in the stranger and wanderer in the land is an act that honors God. The New Testament teaches that when we take in the stranger (e.g. one needing shelter) we do it as if we are doing it to Jesus.

Refugees are people who cannot go home. Maybe it is because of a natural disaster like drought or famine. Or it could be from man-made disasters like wars and armed conflicts. In many cases it is a mixture of these and many more. Whatever the cause, people have fled their homes and home countries seeking food, shelter, safety, etc.

The UN today estimates there are somewhere between 35 and 40 million refugees. This does not count the group known as internally displaces persons (IDPS) who are displaced but still in their home countries. Maybe upwards to 70 to 80 million people in the world who, for lack of a better descriptor, cannot go home.

Today heard about and saw from a distance 32,000 people in one camp. Tents crowded together. Several hundred families for one toilet/bath facilities. Eating the same food every day. They are grateful but also miserable. They want to go home.

We also visited a few of the 3,000 families who are not in the camp. Same town but they are residing in the homes of locals, renting barns, sheds, shops, anything, to get their family out of the elements. Again grateful for what help they are getting but also lacking in basic necessities. They want good lives for their families. They want to go home. But they can't.

Worse. Winter is coming and winter is harsh in this desert country. There is a grave need for blankets, clothing and fuel for heating the hovels and tents that these people now call home. There is an urgency to winterize their dwellings as well.

We should all be moved at their plight. For one, the Bible commands us to be...to be moved to action. But we should also be moved because we share a kinship. Aren't we also strangers, refugees if you will, here in this world? Aren't we citizens of a newer, better country? Aren't we all just dwelling in temporary tents?

Lord, may I see the struggle of my brother refugee and may I be moved to be Your hands and Your feet to help take them in.

No comments:

Post a Comment