Greece (MNN) — The number of Syrian refugees continues to mount in neighboring countries. According to the United Nations, the number of refugees passed the four million mark. Many have sought refuge in Europe. That’s putting incredible pressure on countries who are having great financial difficulties on their own.
Steve Van Valkenberg with Christian Aid Mission says, “They will go through places like Greece, which is a gateway for them to get into Europe. There are tens of thousands every month going through places like Greece. So, it’s a great opportunity for Christians there to reach out to these people and meet their physical and emotional needs, but also to share Christ with them.”
Can Greece handle the influx of refugees? They continue to be plagued with staggering debt. “When you have the financial crisis in Greece with people coming with nothing and they have great needs, then the ministries there need to have resources to be able to help people,” explains Van Valkenberg. Unfortunately, “they can’t get resources because of the financial crisis.”
Christian Aid Mission is providing as much assistance to their partners in Greece as they can, but the demand is much greater than their supply.
Van Valkenberg says in one instance they ran out of funds, but God worked. “The refugees themselves pooled money together because they saw the need to provide food for the others.”
The uncertainty that plagues refugees can’t help but force people to think about their future. “There’s a lot of openness to the Gospel and a great desire to read New Testaments and get together with Christians to find out what the Bible says and what Christianity is about,” Van Valkenberg says. “Many …are becoming Christians.”
Van Valkenberg says the challenge is follow up. As these refugees fan out around the world, helping them grow in their faith will fall upon ministries where they establish their homes. “We have people who have just become believers in Christ, and they know very little. They have a New Testament, they know they are believers in Christ; but they don’t know much else.”
Prayer is urgently needed. Donations are also needed. “The resources just aren’t there. You can’t get jobs. Everything’s getting more expensive.” Support Christian Aid Mission through a link here to help reach more refugees with the love of Christ.