I’ve spent the last few days, being back in Vegas, praying & thinking over what needs to be shared in this post. I’ve been working through fleshly anger & righteous anger, trying to seek discernment & understanding.
I want to share in all we did while working in the refugee camp & I also want to address the lies & truth that cover this situation because we (Josh & I) feel that we need to be a voice for the voiceless, to whoever will listen.
We arrived in London on January 19th and spent that entire day traveling to Dunkerque, France. Needless to say, that was an extremely long & tiring day.
We spent the next 8 days working inside the Grande Synthe refugee camp. During our team meetings in preparation for this trip, we stressed the need for a flexible, willing heart. Going into the camp, we had very little idea of what serving & ministry would look like. And each day at the camp was always a pleasant surprise as to what work we would be doing.
Small back -story: A handful of months before our team arrived in the camp, another Christian group came to serve. They would serve meals & leave Christian tracts inside for the refugees to read. Unfortunately this caused huge turmoil all through the camp. (I’ll explain the demographic/ religious affiliations of the camp in a moment…) So, it was by the grace of God that the camp officials, Aufugee, let us come at all. It was honestly a privilege to be given a chance to mend that “wound.”
The camp is inhabited by close to 1,600 Iraqui, Kurdish, Iranian, Afghani, Vietnamese, & Syrian refugees, both men, women & children. As you can see from the few pictures I shared, their living conditions are less than acceptable. The camp is “run” mainly by the Kurdish men, they make up almost 70% of the refugees. Kurdish people are nomadic. They claim that they are citizens of Kurdistan (a small territory in Northern Iraq, Iran, Syria & Turkey). The Kurds are very anti-religious, most of them being atheists. So we were not submerged in Muslim culture like I thought we would be. It was very interesting. Most have gone this route due to the pain religion has caused them.
The anger & wounding caused by the gospel tracts makes more sense in light of the religious beliefs of the people in the camp. This also made sharing Jesus, & the love & hope of the Gospel extremely difficult & at times, unsafe.
Like I said before, each day at the camp looked different than the day before. We cleaned, we cooked food, we chopped veggies & fruit, we chopped wood, we moved wood, we sat by the fire & talked to volunteers & refugees, we served tea & bread, we took prayer walks around the camp, we heard their stories.
Their stories were heartbreaking. Their journeys were horrific. They were hopeless & searching for answers. And all we could do was listen, lay their burdens at the foot of the Cross & declare God’s justice & love over their crisis.
In light of this, I want to share a few thoughts. And I do hope that this falls on willing ears to hear & hearts to understand. We can no longer afford to live in ignorance, leaving our opinions to be skewed by our one-sided media & agenda-filled Buzzfeed articles. I’m not going to get into the political side of this, because honestly, politics will never be the answer for this crisis. Jesus will. The Church will.
First thing. These are HUMAN BEINGS. They are people created in the image of God, loved & cared for deeply by our Savior. They are not just some abstract problem thousands of miles away. They are families being torn apart, fathers fleeing their countries & missing out on the birth of their children because they are being threatened to be killed, women becoming single mothers for an unforeseeable future, teenage boys being sent ahead to find safety for their families in neighboring countries that don’t want them. THIS IS THE TRUTH. This is the gravity of the situation.
Second. I want to speak firmly to the Christians for a moment. It is unacceptable for us to turn these people away. We are COMMANDED to care for the orphans, widows, the poor, hungry, needy & those seeking refuge. If you profess Jesus, but live in fear, then you are not reflecting the Jesus I know.
One of the members of our team, a 71 year-old woman, on fire for the Lord shared something & it completely wrecked my heart: Jesus loved all 12 of his disciples unconditionally, FULLY knowing that one day Judas would betray him.
Let that sink in for a minute.
2 Timothy 1:17 says, “For God gave us NOT a spirit of fear, but of power, love & a sound mind.” Our country is panic-stricken. Let us not be!! Let us be just like Jesus. Let us love these refugees. Let us take them in & show them hope & rest. Judas betrayed Jesus into the worst death a person could ever endure, but Jesus’ reaction was unconditional love & blessing till His final breath. We have no right to judge the motives of these people, to say what if they are this or that, because we have no right to judge the motives of our own neighbors. We lie, we mess up, we wrong people, and our motives aren’t always pure… Let us not forget that we are merely human beings as well.
This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where professing Jesus becomes more real than ever. You have a choice. You have a choice to live in fleshly fear, holding on to the lie that our government will protect us & that our security rests in the next 120 days of solidifying a vetting process or you have the choice to say that my safety is no more important than the safety of thousands of war-torn, hopeless, broken people & say I stand with the Refugees. Politics will never find a solution to this situation. The Church HAS to be the solution. The Church can no longer operate in timidity. The Church can no longer hide in the shadows. The Church can no longer say, “our nation’s leaders will take care of it…” NO. It is our responsibility.
Like I said, I am not going to tell you if I am republican or democrat, or tell you how I feel about President Trump & his decisions, because it doesn’t matter at all.
What matters is that we fight this crisis with the power, love & mind of Christ.
Jesus would take in every single refugee in a heart-beat. That’s the absolute truth. He doesn’t need a vetting process. We didn’t go through a vetting process to receive His love, mercy, forgiveness & refuge. And we are filthy sinners. (BLESS GOD!) So what gives us the right to evaluate others by our standards of “good enough?”
We have been immensely blessed. And we are called to all the nations to share in that blessing. How could we be ok in withholding hope & grace to other children of God?
Please know that our heart is aching for people to deeply understand this crisis. Our heart is to seek truth, to be a voice & reflect the heart of Jesus.
Josh and I are extremely thankful for the opportunity to serve in that camp; to see first hand the faces, hear the stories & take the Good News into a place of mourning & hopelessness.
So, thank you to those who read all of this. I do pray that what I wrote was surrounded in wisdom & Godly passion. My heart is not to condemn because I am writing from a place of conviction. And I do not wish to sound naive. I do know that people in the church have stepped up & fight on the side of justice.
Thank you for those who gave to us financially & prayed for us through this trip. We wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.
I know I hardly shared any stories, but there is just so much. If you want to hear more, text us, call us, email us… whatever! We would be so happy to share more!