On December 4, 2000 the United Nations appointed December 18 as International Migrants Day, recognising the increase in international migrants (214+ million). (http://www.un.org/en/events/migrantsday/).
International Migrants Day is observed by many countries, non-governmental organizations, and intergovernmental agencies. It is a day used to increase awareness of the human rights and fundamental political freedoms of migrants.
The Lausanne Movement responds to the challenges and opportunities presented by migrants in the Cape Town Commitment, the document born out of the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization at Cape Town 2010.
Love reaches out to scattered peoples
People are on the move as never before. Migration is one of the great global realities of our era. It is estimated that 200 million people are living outside their countries of origin, voluntarily or involuntarily. The term ’diaspora’ is used here to mean people who have relocated from their lands of birth for whatever reason. Some relocate permanently, and others, like three million international students and scholars, temporarily. Vast numbers of people from many religious backgrounds, including Christians, live in diaspora conditions: economic migrants seeking work; internally-displaced peoples because of war or natural disaster; refugees and asylum seekers; victims of ethnic cleansing; people fleeing religious violence and persecution; famine sufferers – whether caused by drought, floods, or war; victims of rural poverty moving to cities. We are convinced that contemporary migrations are within the sovereign missional purpose of God, without ignoring the evil and suffering that can be involved.
A) We encourage Church and mission leaders to recognize and respond to the missional opportunities presented by global migration and diaspora communities, in strategic planning, and in focused training and resourcing of those called to work among them.
B) We encourage Christians in host nations which have immigrant communities and international students and scholars of other religious backgrounds to bear counter-cultural witness to the love of Christ in deed and word, by obeying the extensive biblical commands to love the stranger, defend the cause of the foreigner, visit the prisoner, practise hospitality, build friendships, invite into our homes, and provide help and services.
C) We encourage Christians who are themselves part of diaspora communities to discern the hand of God, even in circumstances they may not have chosen, and to seek whatever opportunities God provides for bearing witness to Christ in their host community and seeking its welfare. Where that host country includes Christian churches, we urge immigrant and indigenous churches together to listen and learn from one another, and to initiate co-operative efforts to reach all sections of their nation with the gospel.
(From The Cape Town Commitment IIC.5 — http://www.lausanne.org/en/documents/ctcommitment.htm)
To address the challenges and opportunities of bringing the Whole Gospel to the “Scattered People”, The Lausanne Movement and the Global Diaspora Network are convening the Global Diaspora Forum in Manila from March 24-28, 2015.
Lausanne Diasporas seeks to motivate the Whole Church to take the Whole Gospel to the Whole World, to and through the scattered peoples.
To learn more about scattered peoples, please join the global conversation at http://www.lausanne.org/en/connect/topics/diasporas.html.
Sadiri Joy Tira (D.Min., D.Miss.) is the LCWE Senior Associate for Diasporas; Vice President for Diaspora Missions at Advancing Indigenous Missions (AIM); Director of the Institute of Diaspora Missiology at Alliance Graduate School (Philippines); and Diaspora Missiology Specialist at the Jaffray Centre for Global Initiatives at Ambrose University College (Canada).
Photo: flickr: Bread for the World