25 Aug Seeking Asylum
“Now when they (the Magi) had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him. So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt.” ~ Matt 2.13,14 (NASB)
“It’s always the same. Stand in line. We don’t see anyone. ‘Come back tomorrow,’ they tell us. Do it again. And in the end, give up. It is no longer safe to look for work. Stay in the tent. Stay hidden. And hope for a miracle.”
~Told to a Worker Among Syrian Asylum Seekers
“The lengths which desperate Syrian migrants are willing to go to was revealed by one person, who has spoken of paying people smugglers €1,200 ($1350) per family member to be taken by sea from the Turkish beach resort of Bodrum to the Greek island of Kos.”
- Greece saw 21,000 migrants and refugees arrive in the last week, while about 107,000 arrived in Europe in July.
- Hungary is planning on sending hundreds of soldiers to Serbian border to help stem the flow of people.
- Meanwhile Turkish tourist shops are now doing a roaring trade selling lifejackets to the migrants risking their lives.
- This morning alone, five refugees died in the sea off the coast of Bodrum while trying to reach the island of Kos. ~ Daily Mail
Some critics say the U.S. and U.N. have been reluctant to explicitly label ISIS’ actions “genocide” because doing so would require greater action on their part to stop it.
“Declaring ISIS guilty of genocide raises the stakes for a world community where many actors, especially in the Middle East, have failed to do what will be required to defeat ISIS,” said Charles Haynes, director of the Religious Freedom Center at the Newseum Institute. “If ISIS is committing genocide — and clearly it is — then all nations have a moral obligation to act immediately to stop these crimes against humanity.” ~21 Wilberforce
first a bit of
Asylum Seekers are those who have fled from war or persecution to another nation, hoping for protection and to be allowed to live there. Jesus was an asylum seeker when Joseph was warned in a dream by God to flee to Egypt because Herod was seeking to kill ‘the Child’.
Rarely has there been a time when so many are seeking asylum in so few places willing to receive them. The number does not incrementally increase but multiplies by the day. This week alone 21,000 more arrived in Athens, which is just one example. Imagine. It’s hard on the receiving nations to provide enough personnel, resources and job opportunity to accommodate the refugees. The pressure then mounts as their economy takes a hit, causing great resentment & hostile climate.
For the asylum seekers, the journey is lengthy and precarious. Policies, resources and attitudes vary from nation to nation. Most are trying to get to the EU as their best chance for a future.
“In much of Europe, ‘asylum-seeker’ and ‘refugee’ have become dirty words. It is rare to find a politician who will express genuine concern for refugees in public; when it does happen, it’s usually on a visit to a refugee camp somewhere far from Europe’s borders,” Amnesty International says.
From a short-term worker in Athens:
“I woke up this morning to different sounds outside my hotel room in Athens. From my 6th floor window I was surprised to see the park, which was empty only hours before, now covered with small tents, cardboard box mattresses and people. Hoping for asylum, lots of people – men, women and children were taking up their new residence, if only for a day. These families had been put ashore the night before somewhere around 3 in the morning. They were weary, exhausted, hungry and afraid. Yet they were also filled with anticipation and hope, even though their journey has just begun.
They have been fleeing for their lives for weeks. They still live under the control of their smugglers and are uncertain what their future holds. There is anxiety about how they will be received by their new host government. Even though their final destination is unsure, and the process lengthy and filled with detours, one man told me that the fear for his life and the life of his family has diminished for the first time in years.”
From a worker Among Syrian Asylum Seekers:
“Recently, my Syrian friends have been telling me the same story: starting about a year ago, they began having trouble renewing their papers at the UN offices in Lebanon. For the first three years of the conflict, Lebanon maintained an open border policy with Syria, facilitating the free-flow of traffic for those fleeing. But under the strain of the refugee crisis (some estimates have it that 30% of Lebanon are refugees), the Lebanese government began to close the border. And then the stories started coming in. My friends would go the UN centers before dawn and wait 8 hours. They never got to speak to anyone. They just stood in line. Outside. And at the end of the workday, the officials would say: “Come back tomorrow.” But how many times can you “come back tomorrow” before you get the point? Sure, if you had a national with you, an employer perhaps, things were quite simple. But for the vast majority of Syrians, that’s simply not an option. The result? Papers expired; passports expired; and feeling trapped. You see, if any army or police were to ask a Syrian man for his papers, and their paperwork is expired, the authorities detain them, take them to the border without a chance to say goodbye to their wife and children, and send them home. Permanently.
Are all the details of these stories correct? I’m almost positive they’re not. I’m sure that government officials as well as UN workers would “correct” this version. But I’ve heard the same stories repeated multiple times in vastly different refugee communities. It’s always the same. Stand in line. Don’t see anyone. Come back tomorrow. Do it again. And in the end, give up. It has no longer become safe to look for work. Stay in the tent. Stay hidden. And hope for a miracle.”
- Just as Jesus found safe refuge in Egypt, we plead for Syrians fleeing the conflict to find safety, shelter & speedy processing of paperwork in a new place where they can settle their families. Lord, we ask for more countries to open their doors for those escaping the conflict and persecution.
- As we think of our own pilgrimage we realize we are all asylum seekers – having been in a desperate situation with our own sin. We’ve been in bondage spiritually and needed a place to run for safety. You, Jesus, have been that place, our only hope. We ask that you stir the hearts of each asylum seeker that doesn’t know your forgiveness and hope. Cause them to seek you and find you, as you reveal yourself to them along this journey. Send messengers in person and in dreams and visions, we pray.
- Lord we ask that your scripture would be readily available in printed copies in their language and that they would learn how to download free versions online. Would you send a wave of information through refugee sites that would help them know how to download Jesus films and other materials in their own languages.
- Jesus, would cause your church worldwide to be shocked and rocked with the information of what is actually happening to the Syrians. Forgive us, Lord, for not paying attention – for not responding and acting more powerfully much sooner. We ask that the right information about this situation go viral in the hearts of your Church’s leaders. Let them become your voice of compassion – but also the voice of justice to the world’s political leaders that are able to change the situation. Cause your Church to rise up with one voice in prayer, compassion and justice to call for immediate actions to “stop the crimes against humanity”.
Summer in Syria Twitter Campaign Backfires
Germany to receive 750,000 asylum seekers this year, report claims / The Guardian 8-18-15
Experts Say What Governments Won’t
Revealed: How more than 100,000 migrants found their way to Europe’s shores in just one month
Yazidi refugees flee ISIS, but find door to US asylum closed / Fox News 8-17-18
Story about Iraqi Christian but Yazidi (which is a strange Christian sect) are in Syria.
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