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Not the rain for which we prayed

A few days after our April visit to Kakuma refugee camp, the heavens opened over the drought-stricken landscape. Although many had been praying for rain, this downpour was not life-giving. Many mud brick refugee shelters and churches were destroyed.

I received this email today from a brother named Etando who served as my translator during a Sunday worship service in the camp last month...

Hello! I greet you in name of jesus christ. i was your interpreter when you are preaching. i am very happy to write to you as my father and my friend in christ. I would like you to send me some verse of bible because I consider you as my father in faith.

It was on Sunday that floodwater came. many houses crumbled including mine. all furniture, matresses, clothes were covered with mud. we did not rescue any things. we thank God because we were saved.

we are like new arrivals again. we are surviving and sleeping on thin mats.

i am married with 5 children. greet your familly.

when will you be here again? Send me any advice from God's word. God bless you. Amen.

Life is hard in a refugee camp. This is one of the many challenges they face as they patiently wait for a solution to their displacement. Faith and supportive relationships play an important role in helping people survive and recover from the multiple traumas that are part of their journey.

IAFR is committed to stand with refugees, including our brothers and sisters, in Kakuma refugee camp (Kenya), Dzaleka refugee camp (Malawi) as well as in Europe and North America - where the challenges that they face may be different, but can still be overwhelming.

You can help too. Would you take a minute right now and offer a prayer on behalf of our friend, Etando, and others like him who are struggling to recover from this recent tragedy? We can pray with confidence that God hears, God sees and God cares for them.

-Posted by Tom Albinson

Uprooted flowers

When a flower is pulled from a garden, its roots are torn out of the soil and are no longer able to sustain the flower. It won't survive long without being replanted in a safe place where it can again put down roots.

When people are uprooted, they are ripped out of both their place and their community - often in ways that are traumatic. Similar to an uprooted flower, forcibly displaced people need a safe place into which they can again put down roots.

This is why it matters greatly when 1 of the world's 30-some-odd countries offering resettlement to refugees decides to reduce it's quota from 110,000 people to 50,000 [see section 6.b). It means that 60,000 people who would have been given a safe place in which to rebuild their lives will now be left uprooted and vulnerable for at least another year - and quite possibly longer. Like flowers with their roots exposed, how long can we expect them to survive?

Let's speak up for those who have no voice. We all have a voice that we can use to inform and influence our friends, family and political representatives in helpful ways. Let's hold refugees in our prayers, lifing them up to Jesus - asking him to hear their cries and to lead them to a city in which they can settle. And although we might not be able to solve their need for a place they can call home, perhaps we can offer welcoming spaces and community to those who carry the story of forced displacement with them as they navigate our streets.

Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like to explore ways that you and/or your church might be able to stand with refugees at this difficult time.

Click here to see a helpful and user-friendly resource designed to give us a well-informed understanding of refugee realities in the world today.

-Posted by Tom Albinson

Words Matter

Do you know the difference between a migrant and an asylum-seeker? And how is a refugee different from either of those groups? 

Words (and their definitions) matter, especially if you are looking to understand the complex conversations around forced displacement. We recently updated a few of the resources in our toolbox, including one that clarifies the meaning behind commonly used terms. We hope this brief Terminology of Forced Displacement document can help you sort through some of the confusion in public conversations.

-Posted by Rachel Uthmann

 

 

Never Alone

When I look at the bustling and complex backdrop of the European cities where I encounter people on a refugee journey, I am amazed that any of these people have had the resilience and strength required to make it this far. Having fled persecution and violence by crossing deserts, seas, and endless miles of terrain – a dangerous journey that often covers a period of years -- these forcibly displaced people finally arrive in a safe country only to face a whole new set of challenges. They are strangers in a foreign land, weary but often hopeful that they will be permitted to stay and begin the daunting journey toward a new beginning.

Last week I was once again privileged to sit in a room full of such courageous people. One young man entered the room for the first time wide-eyed, his face betraying the weight of his travels. He had only arrived in the country two days before, and he was just trying to figure out how to navigate this new place and language and where to look for help.

One volunteer asked this newcomer about his journey and heard about the many challenges he had faced. At some point someone commented on how difficult his journey must have been and how challenging it was to make such a trek alone. But the young man quickly replied, “I am never alone because God is with me.” This intimate sense of God’s nearness and presence is not typical of the worldview of most people from this young man’s country, so his bold assertion made everyone take notice.

It turns out our new friend had learned about the God of the Bible in secret in his country, and he had believed wholeheartedly the promise of Jesus to never leave him alone. When a person knows and lives in this confidence, it changes everything. Knowing God’s presence with him changed everything for this young man on his journey to freedom, and I believe that same awareness of God’s nearness and love will sustain him in the trying days ahead.

-Posted by Rachel Uthmann

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