Click the picture on the left to see a video of the response of the peoples of the Czech Republic to the refugees. The video is about half Czech and half english but you will get the idea. Outside of followers of Jesus there are very few who are merciful towards the Syrian Refugees.
The Refugee Crisis is a very complex issue. There are numerous posts on Facebook and even more discussion in the media concerning refugees. The terrorist activities in Paris and Beirut have certainly added to the discussion.
For many of our American friends however the debate is theoretical. The possibilities of refugees from war ravaged countries coming to their hometown is generally small. Living in Europe it is a reality that must be faced rather than a debate on policy. In addition, as part of an International Church there are few world events that do not impact someone in our congregation personally. We have people from all over the world that worship together at International Church of Prague.
So how are we to respond to the need of Refugees? Let me start by telling you what we as a church have done, and then try to explain why.
The Czech Republic has refugees. The refugees here however are in detention camps. They fled their homes and have been detained on their journey to Germany, Austria, France or elsewhere. Some are seeking asylum here in the Czech Republic but many hope to go to a more welcoming country.
There are 2 refugee detention centers near Prague. As a church we have provided clothing, toys, school supplies, hundreds of pairs of new underwear, socks coats and other items to the families at the Bela center (About 400 people).
We also visited the men’s center in Drahonice several times (about 240 men). Here are men who have lost all that they own on a journey of thousands of miles in the hope of finding peace and an opportunity to live without fear. I visited them the day after the terrorist attacks in Paris. They were devastated. They had searched for pieces black cloth and each one wore a black arm band taken from torn up t-shirts. They wanted everyone to know they grieved for the loss of life in Paris. They told me “This is what we are fleeing from. The Terrorist's have taken our homes and because we have fled we are now considered infidel’s by Daesch (ISIS). If we go back we die."
As a church we decided to make individual packages of new shoes, jackets, pants, backpacks, and hygiene items and phone cards. Most have not talked to family member in many months. Each package included a personal note written to the man who would receive it. We also gave them a few New Testaments in Arabic along with some other books for them to read.
When we arrived the men were distraught and deeply afraid. But as we shared these gifts and encouraged them a transformation occurred. Hope was reborn that they were not alone. Please pray for the refugees. Pray that God will reveal Himself in dreams, through the bibles that have been given. God is working in the lives of these people.
God designed the delivery system of the gospel to be through relationship. He has called you and I to be hands on in sharing life with those who do not yet know Jesus Christ. It is what followers of Jesus are called to do. To give love to the least of these...
Matthew 25:34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
several families are Christians and even many of the Muslim background individuals have said they would appreciate prayer. Please pray that God will grant us favor with the officials and that this will be an opportunity to share the love and life of Jesus Christ with many.