As part of the 10/10 Prayer Initiative, 180 agencies have come together to ask God to draw to himself 10 percent of the world’s Muslims in the next 10 years. 10/10. Easy to remember, yet such an amazingly big task that only God can do it. SEND International has committed to fast and pray the first Friday of every month — today, and every first Friday for the next decade. Will you consider joining us?
Though immigration to the U.S. and Canada provides many opportunities to share the love of Christ with our new neighbors, the folks who have resettled in North America represent a small portion of refugees worldwide.
As of June 2018, there were:
- 25.4 million refugees in the world, half of them younger than 18.
- 40 million people displaced within their own countries due to fighting and social unrest.
While the refugee flow to Europe has dropped from its high of 1.3 million people in 2015, there remains huge potential for additional mass movements, as the refugee situation in the Middle East and Africa continues to simmer. Turkey — which borders some of the most difficult countries from which people are fleeing — remains both a host country for refugees, as well as a launching pad for refugees into other European countries and the U.S. and Canada.
For now, some of the poorest countries of the world are hosting the greatest number of refugees. The top five are:
- Turkey (3.5 million refugees)
- Pakistan and Uganda (1.4 million each)
- Lebanon (1.1 million)
- Iran (914,000)
Many refugees refuse to register for fear of either being deported or being placed into a refugee camp surrounded by barbed wire, so these numbers likely are much higher.
With these waves of refugees come overwhelming physical needs for shelter, food, water and sanitation. The United Nations, individual governments, relief agencies and churches have found varying levels of success in trying to meet these needs.
But alongside the physical needs, there are spiritual needs, and it is up to the church worldwide to help in this area. Many refugees in recent years are coming from areas and people groups either closed to the gospel or in difficult-to-reach communities. Now, here they are in areas where we can reach them. The church must not miss out on this opportunity!
Diaspora in Europe
Historically, we have called Jews who live outside of Israel “the Diaspora.” Now this term is broadening to include other displaced peoples. According to Wikipedia, “diaspora has come to refer to involuntary mass dispersions of a population from its indigenous territories.”
The Western church is realizing that, in addition to reaching out to unreached people groups in their own countries (the traditional missionary effort), we also can reach out to established communities of displaced groups living far from their homelands. For example, Iran is a closed country to most Western Christians, but there are large Iranian communities in many of the major cities in the West, and those are places we can go!
This expanded diaspora concept, along with the continuing refugee crisis, provide ample opportunities for Christians worldwide to step up and show the compassion and neighborly love that Christ modeled for us. Many churches throughout Europe are reaching out with the love of Christ to as many people as they can, but they have limited personnel and resources.
SEND International has programs reaching out to refugees in several European countries. If you have prayed about it and would like to join in this amazing opportunity to bless refugees and to minister to diaspora communities in the name of Jesus, you can find opportunities to give here and opportunities to go here.
10/10 Prayer Initiative
Please continue to pray for 10 percent of the Muslim world to come to Christ in the next 10 years. As you pray, please know that you are joining other Christians worldwide who are also committed to crying out to God for fruit from the Muslim world. If you can, ask others to join you in a time of prayer. Perhaps you could add this 10/10 prayer to your small group gathering or Sunday School class. Feel free to be creative!
Prayer requests for refugee ministries
- Working with refugees can be difficult emotionally. Pray for our workers who are reaching out with their whole hearts to share Jesus with a family or individual who might suddenly get permission to migrate and leave overnight.
- Teams working with Muslims in Russia have language challenges. Pray for diligence and courage to not only study Russian for daily life, but strength and ability to also seek fluency in a local or regional language so that they might be able to share our Savior’s love in that local language, too.
- Pray for unity on our teams. Pray that in the midst of the daily struggles and challenges of living in a foreign country, that our workers would be gracious and understanding of other international workers.
- We are thankful for and blessed by partnerships on the ground. Pray that these can continue and deepen for multiplied ministry, and ask the Lord of the harvest to bring new workers to join in the work.
- Pray for faithful patience and the planting of many seeds of the Good News in the hearts and minds of the many contacts and friendships that are being made, and that in his timing, fruit would come forth in abundance!
Photos by Bill and Joan Ginther. Read the story of how God used their short-term trip to a refugee camp in Macedonia and social media to change one young man’s life.