23 Feb Host Cultures
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Displaced Syrians were desperate when they fled their homes, and now most long for the day it’s safe to return. Many had a good life in Syria and suddenly, with the civil war and extremism, everything changed. They have found themselves in a place other than their homes, with host cultures that are stretched for resources and often resentful of their presence. Both the host cultures and the refugees are in need of prayer.
A key complexity of the current crisis is the dense concentration of displaced Syrians in just a few places: Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and Germany. In most refugee crises, Western nations have taken more responsibility for resettlement, allowing a more even distribution around the world. Due to a variety of reasons, those nations have not done this and the situation is not changing. This has put an incredible infrastructure burden on just a few countries for food, housing, land, schools, jobs, sanitation and medical care for the 4 million who have left Syria.
A growing backlash in most of these countries has caused the refugees to feel resented, not welcomed and in many cases mistreated. The host cultures struggle to meet their basic needs. Most children are not in school, as schools are overflowing, medical care is in short supply, and housing limited.
Syrian Christians were among the first to leave Syria, as it was particularly dangerous for them being the first targets. Most of these host cultures are not friendly toward Christians.
There are another 7 million displaced within Syria itself, putting the same kind of pressure on the new communities they are fleeing to.
Let’s remember that throughout scripture people have been displaced because of persecution (Jesus, David, Philip, Aquila & Priscilla, Peter, and the early church), famine (Jacob, Abraham, Naomi), war (Nation of Israel, Esther, Nehemiah, Daniel), natural disasters (Noah, Lot), conflict (Hagar, Joseph), and even their own choices to sin (Adam & Eve, Cain, Moses, etc.).
Jesus was a refugee forced to flee in the middle of the night with his family when he was a young boy. He identifies with the displaced, and God has asked His people to be His hands and feet and have the privilege to take up the cause of the forcibly displaced peoples.
When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.
Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
Let our Prayers ‘drive a spoke into the wheels of injustice’ for Hidden Victims
• Lord, as those displaced in this hideous conflict await either a safe time to return home, or a new permanent home in another land, will you fill those searching for you with hope for their future and reveal yourself as the heart-home they search for.
• Will you raise up your people & your church in the host cultures to step up to the responsibility and privilege to love them, defend them, be kind and compassionate, minister and share your message of hope and the exchanged life. Help their love for you and the displaced to overflow in tangible ways. As they step out to minister in your name, will you grant that supernatural resources will flow as well?
• We ask, Lord, that you change the attitudes of those in host cultures to be welcoming and compassionate as they too may one day be in the same situation. Grant their governments wisdom and resources in dealing with the overwhelming situations they face in terms of sheer numbers and concentrations.
Please continue to pray for our team that is on the ground in refugee sites to have guidance, discernment, and the opportunity to make connections with upright local partners.
Visit the new ACT page. There will be a growing number of opportunities for your own response.
We’ve started with two – Give + GO. More to come soon.
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