Middle East (MNN) — For refugees fleeing war-torn Syria, these are desperate times. “These are a battered, desperate people that have no place to go. So many of the refugees…have nothing,” says Tom Doyle, Middle East expert and author of “Killing Christians: Living the Faith Where It’s Not Safe to Believe.”
The number of refugees keeps growing as they flee ISIS, rebel groups, or the Bashar al-Assad regime. Refugees in Europe now exceed 1 million, and those are the lucky few.
“When you look at Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, and even inside Syria, how many are displaced? I hear between 6 and 8 million, just in the general Middle East,” Doyle says.
Being displaced with little-to-no resources means these refugees are easy prey.
“They were trying to steal the women to rape them, were trying to take the children to take for slavery, trying to get the young boys and men to put them in ISIS or one of the other terrorist groups,” says Doyle.
In the midst of this horror, Doyle also sees Christ being shared and people being saved.
“The good news is that believers are reaching out to them throughout Europe, throughout the Middle East, and there are people coming to faith in Jesus. They’ve lost everything, but Jesus was there to fill that void, save them, transform them, and bring them into the body of Christ. So they’re not alone. They’re part of the great big family globally,” says Doyle.
He pleads with Christians to think about the Great Commission when they take an opinion on refugees. He acknowledges government’s part in keeping us safe from terrorism, and he understands the need for screening of immigrants. But he notes that Christians have a higher calling.
“We come from that background where we want security… but that doesn’t mean the Church just rolls over and says, ‘Let the government handle this,’” says Doyle. “We’ve been called to fulfill the Great Commission. And here is the amazing thing: the nations of the world are coming to us. We have an opportunity to reach them in our own backyard.”