Middle East (MNN) — Hope is an underlying theme in our “Love Moves” series.
PIONEERS’ Danny Anan says it makes the Middle East refugees they work with want to know more about the God they proclaim.
“It really does touch people, and it moves them, to know that our God is a God of love,” Anan states.
“We have this access that many others don’t, into the lives of these people who are so desperate. God has brought us to these places, and…by supporting them, we’re in a really unique position to share the Gospel.”
Love Moves: Victims of War
The so-called “ISIS crisis” escalated quickly last year, following the terrorists’ expansion into Iraq and establishment of a caliphate. The size and scope of the refugee crisis created by this expansion hasn’t reduced as the end of 2015 approaches.
At least half of the total Syrian population has been displaced, either by civil war or the Islamic State, resulting in approximately 11.5 million Syrians seeking safe haven.
In Iraq, over four million people are on the run.
PIONEERS missionaries have been actively helping refugees fleeing violence in Syria since 2013. They’ve made nearly 3,000 visits to refugee families in crisis, delivering 585 food packages along the way.
“The Muslim organizations have only lied to us and ignored us,” one Syrian refugee told PIONEERS. “You were the only ones to help us when we needed it most.”
“By meeting the personal, the material, the immediate needs of these people, it builds trust and it shows the love of Jesus tangibly,” says Anan.
As love moves PIONEERS missionaries to meet physical needs, they are also engaging in spiritual conversations with refugees.
“There’s so much violence being done in the name of Islam,” Anan observes.
“For the first time, maybe in hundreds of years, there are thousands of people who would call themselves Muslims who are rethinking their faith as a result of this refugee crisis.”
Sometimes, it’s not the emergency aid, or even the kindness of a missionary, that makes refugees take a closer look at this God called Jesus.
In this report, PIONEERS shares the story of “Mahmoud.” Mahmoud is a refugee who stumbled across PIONEERS’ partnering church while searching for someone who would help his family.
“He noticed a verse written on the wall: ‘Jesus is the light of the world’,” writes PIONEERS in its report.
“Mahmoud shared with our missionaries that this verse is what gripped him and brought him into the church—not the promise of aid, but the thought that he needed to find the light of Jesus.”
After this initial discussion, Mahmoud, his family, and three other refugee families began studying God’s Word with PIONEERS missionaries.
They aren’t the only ones, either. So far, more than 50 groups of Muslims are engaging in similar Bible study groups and 17 refugee families have put their faith in Christ.
As part of their 2016 Love Moves initiative, PIONEERS wants to reach over 2,000 more refugees with the love and hope of Jesus Christ.
Learn more about the project and its expected outcomes here. Then, ask the Lord how He’d have you come alongside.
“By praying, by providing financial support for this initiative, it really will enable our missionaries to be the hands and feet of Jesus.”