Syria (MNN) — While the conflict in Syria intensifies, it seems as if Americans — specifically Christians — are only becoming more apathetic.
According to a survey by World Vision, 38 percent of those who described themselves as committed Christians had taken action for refugees in the past two years — a six percent drop from 2015. In 2015, 40 percent of Christians said they prayed for refugees, while only 19 percent of Christians said they did in 2016.
“The news nightly just pounds away with pictures and videos and new statistics, and after a while it really has an adverse effect on people to where they almost just tune it out,” says Tom Doyle, vice president of church and ministry partnerships for e3 Partners and author of Killing Christians.
Fear is another reason why Christians’ willingness to support refugees has dwindled. According to a survey from February by LifeWay Research, 56 percent of Baptist pastors and 50 percent of Pentecostal pastors say their congregations fear refugees coming to the U.S. Doyle says that while many Americans’ fears of letting refugees into the country are valid, Christians are called to look past them.
“We have to look at, ‘What is the role of the Church?’ Doyle says. “God has called us to the nations to preach the Gospel, and the nations are coming to us. The 10/40 window is now just outside our window. And so we have a great opportunity. That’s one of the reasons we’ve tried to tell the stories. I think people need to hear stories, not so much statistics. Statistics are just data. They kind of fly by us, but stories can touch the heart.
“I think the refugees are almost like the lepers of the New Testament. Nobody wants them…. There have been some bad things, so part of the fears are founded in truth. I think it’s easy for us to just label Syrian refugees, ‘Oh, they could be bad news, we have to be careful because of their desperation.’ Many of them are just looking for a way to live without being in extreme danger. They want to raise their kids, they want to send them to a good school, they want to feed them good food.”
Doyle explains just how much of an impact refugees could make for Christ if only they were given a chance. He tells the story of one man and his family who is moving from Syria to Texas. He was tortured both by the Islamic State and Syrian government before escaping and making his way to Jordan. There, he was embraced by a group of Christians, who led him to Christ. Now, he and his family are passionate believers.
“He is on fire for Jesus,” Doyle says. “He has seen the worst of humanity, but then he has seen who Jesus is through the lives of believers.
“Can you imagine if there was a movement among Syrian refugees, and they became a great missionary force in the next several years? That could happen, because they have nothing, and as they come to faith in Christ and they experience his love, they want to tell others.”
E3 Partners is working in numerous communities throughout the Middle East, Europe and the U.S., providing food and clothing and hosting sports camps. You can make a difference too, whether its donating or taking a missions trip with e3 Partners.
Remember also to pray for hope for refugees as well as for an end to the violence.