MENA believers reach refugees for Christ

By February 7, 2023

Middle East/North Africa (MNN) — The global refugee crisis has more than doubled in scope over the past decade.

According to the United Nations, over 70 percent of refugees come from one of five countries: Syria, Venezuela, Ukraine, Afghanistan, and South Sudan. The Middle East bears an uncomfortable burden in the refugee arena. Türkiye hosts the largest number of refugees, with 3.7 million people, and Lebanon hosts the most refugees per capita.

Believers here often find that Gospel conversations abound in refugee populations because these people are surrounded by uncertainty and desperate for hope. Perhaps more than any other historical period, “now” is a perfect time to reach refugees for Christ.

“The window (of opportunity) is today,” Fadi Sharaiha with MENA Leadership Center says.

“Most of the research [says] you have only the first nine- to 12 months [to] share the Gospel with a refugee. After that, they don’t care anymore, so it’s very important to seize the day.”

Churches throughout the Middle East and North Africa want to help refugees in the name of Jesus. In Sharaiha’s home country of Jordan, “the Church is active on this; most churches have a refugee ministry,” he says.

“The only problem is that they are not equipped [to] deal with refugees. They don’t understand what a refugee camp is, the different bureau of legal terms, and the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ [of] working with refugees.”

(Photo courtesy of MENA Leadership Center)

That’s where the MENA Leadership Center comes in. It helps believers care for more refugees by growing the church leaders’ capacity. Learn more here.

Last year, “we did training programs for churches working with refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey,” Sharaiha says.

“We’re doing this [training] again in March, and we need your prayers and support to have more people come from different countries.”

Sponsorship from you removes enrollment barriers, allowing Gospel workers to participate in the program. “We’re not working directly with refugees, but we’re helping ministers [who work] with refugees,” Sharaiha says.

“Please support us so that we can [train more leaders] on how to create a plan, do trauma healing for those refugees, and serve them better in a Christian way.”



Header image depicts Afghan refugees in Iran. (Photo credit: EU/ECHO Pierre Prakash)

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