USA (MNN) — In the United States, an expedited resettlement process for Afghan refugees begins the week after next. The new process will transfer 3,000 Afghans from “lily pad” locations, like the military bases in Qatar, to U.S. soil.
No matter where you stand on this issue politically, refugee resettlement presents Gospel opportunities. Since August, approximately 75,000 Afghan refugees have entered the country; of that population, 68,000 have transitioned from military bases to U.S. communities.
“This is a very countercultural message, but it must be shared – the sovereign God has scattered Afghans so that they’re now our neighbors,” Dr. Len Bartlotti, an intercultural consultant specializing in Afghanistan and Pakistan, says.
“For American Christians, I think this is a huge opportunity.”
According to Joshua Project, 68 of the 70 people groups in Afghanistan are “unreached,” meaning they have no access to the Gospel.
“The Afghans that we are welcoming now to North America, most of them have never met a true Christian,” Bartlotti says.
“Most of them have never heard the Gospel, have never read the Scriptures in their language. They’re not so much resistant as they are neglected.”
“God’s giving us an opportunity at this stage in history to look out on the fields and identify those peoples who haven’t had the opportunity to hear [the Gospel] and understand, and respond,” Bartlotti says.
“God’s on the move. He’s always been on the move; He’s never stopped being the God of mission. He’s invited us to join Him.”
If you live in the U.S., ask the Lord how you can help Afghan refugees encounter Jesus.
“We need to ask God to give us eyes to see those who are around us. Someone said, ‘Jesus never went out of His way to help anyone. He just helped everyone in his path.’ So, love everyone in your path,” Bartlotti says.
“Pray for God to reveal himself to these peoples. We are welcomers, and we welcome in the name of Christ.”
In the header image, officials welcome Afghan refugees to Seattle, Washington. (Photo courtesy of Governor Inslee/Flickr/CreativeCommons)