Author: Gesse Almeida Rios
According to June 2010 UN report there are almost 16 million refugees in the world today and the number of repatriated people is much less the the number of new refugees. It means that the world is facing a huge and growing problem. On the other hand the number of IDP (Internally Displaced People) is also in a constant growing process. More then 27 million IDP in 2009 by clashes mainly in Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan and Somalia.
According to the same report more then 43 million people were forcibly displaced around the world last year only. Most of those refugees live in urban areas they have oportunities for studies and employment. I’ve been working amongst refugees in Cape Town for the past 8 years. It’s interesting to see that many of them come from countries where it is not allowed to openly proclaim the Gospel. They live and interact with local nationals which means that the possibillity of contact with the Christian faith is inevitable. For some of them it’s the first time they ever have a significant contact with the Christian way of life. Some are even employed by Christians or live amongst Christians.
Therefore the Church of those receiving countries should see this phenomenom as an oportunity to reach out. Specially if we take into consideration the fact that they are temporary residentes. In other words almost all of them will to go back to their home land one day. Just think for a moment how impactant it will be if that person goes back washed by the blood of the Lamb, if he or she goes back as a born again person, as a witness of the cross.
The point I want to make here is the following: How the Church, the body of Christ, is responding to this challenge? Do we see it as a great strategy to impact lives with true love of our Lord Jesus Christ, in a very practical way? Are we preparing ourselves to receive them in our county with open arms? Are we prepared to share the love of Christ with them?