Refugees: crisis or opportunity?

By June 16, 2015
(Photo courtesy BGR)

(Photo courtesy BGR)

International (MNN) — Amnesty International shames world leaders in a new report as World Refugee Day approaches.

Meanwhile, Christians are taking action to help refugees through Baptist Global Response (BGR).

“The love of Christ motivates and compels us, and we could not do anything else BUT to respond to these folks in need,” says BGR Executive Director, Jeff Palmer.

Why should we care about refugees?

Pointing fingers

Amnesty’s 35-page report, The Global Refugee Crisis: A Conspiracy of Neglect, blames the world and its leaders for failing to “fix” desperate circumstances currently surrounding 50 million people.

(Photo courtesy Cameron Russell via Flickr)

(Photo courtesy Cameron Russell via Flickr)

“The global refugee crisis may be fueled by conflict and persecution,” part of the report reads, “but it is compounded by the neglect of the international community in the face of this human suffering.”

About two-thirds of the world’s refugees have been in exile for more than five years, many of them with no end in sight.

Approximately 86% live in developing nations; Turkey, Lebanon, and Pakistan each host over one million refugees.

Outlining crises in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia, Amnesty’s report calls for a “paradigm shift” in the way people view the global refugee crisis.

It also blames the global community for refugee deaths.

“The current approaches to the world’s many refugee crises are failing — and the toll in lives lost and lives blighted is far higher than many armed conflicts.”

Read the full report here.

BGR and its supporters have been coming alongside Syrian refugees — the world’s largest refugee population — since the crisis began four years ago.

Taking action

(Photo courtesy BGR)

(Photo courtesy BGR)

Through BGR, Southern Baptists are helping thousands of desperate families who have fled the violence in Syria. By providing food, hygiene kits, and more, BGR and their partners are demonstrating the love of Christ in tangible ways.

“Right now, we have an unprecedented time in history to minister to some of the most closed people groups in the world because they’re looking for ways to survive,” explains Palmer.

As they form friendships with refugees, on-the-ground church partners get opportunities to speak into their lives.

“What a wonderful opportunity it is to make Christ known in word and deed,” Palmer says.

Syrians are the largest refugee population BGR is helping, but their refugee ministry isn’t limited to the Middle East. See who else they’re helping here.

“It’s so biblical to address those needs,” observes Palmer.

Through partners on-the-ground, BGR is helping Syrian refugee families of all faiths. (Image courtesy BGR)

Through partners on-the-ground, BGR is helping Syrian refugee families of all faiths. (Image courtesy BGR)

“It’s so strategic, too, because there may not be another time in history that we’ll have access to people we’re having access to right now.”

Put your faith into action by helping refugees here.

“Jesus said, ‘I was a stranger and you took Me in.’ And He said when ‘we did it to the least of these’ we did it unto Him,” Palmer recalls.

“God is inviting you right now to work with Him.”

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