Still sharing hope with refugees
By Kerry Allan | Europe
Five years ago, more than a million people crossed into Europe and safer parts of the Middle East to escape conflict and poverty. Many of them took huge risks and embarked on dangerous journeys in an effort to find safety.
Knowing the most important thing is to find new life in Jesus Christ, SIM UK launched the pioneering HowWillTheyHear (HWTH) ministry – in partnership with several evangelical mission agencies – to share the gospel with refugees and migrants in the midst of the crisis.
Today, the HWTH vision remains unchanged: to see the global church respond to the migrant crisis through prayer and practical action.
“The reality is that the problem is still massive, as last year’s fire at the Moria refugee camp in Greece and the coronavirus lockdown has shown,” says SIM Europe Director Marcus Baeder, who takes over as chair of the HWTH steering group from SIM UK Director Steve Smith.
In 2021, the campaign particularly wants to help those agencies, discouraged about recruiting and sending because of COVID-19, that within Europe, mission workers are still needed.
“We want to expand and build on the connections we already have with partner agencies and churches seeking to mobilise workers into refugee and migrant ministry. It can be from within Europe, from Arab diaspora – from anywhere,” says Marcus.
The ability for different agencies to recruit, train and serve together with multicultural teams composed of people who speak French, Arabic and Spanish, allows HWTH to offer a culturally diverse approach.
“Every part of the worldwide church – near and far – has a role to play in responding to the opportunity to reach out to refugees in Europe and the Middle East, whether that’s through sending workers, sharing financial resources or prayer support,” adds Marcus.
“The number of people with the desire to serve in cross-cultural ministry has not decreased because of COVID-19.
“We have enquiries from the Middle East and there are great opportunities to mobilise believers from Eastern Europe and to help local churches and agencies become more able to send successfully.
“The pandemic has forced HWTH to think innovatively about how we work, but moving forward, we remain true to the heartbeat of the campaign when it first began.”
If you’d like to find out more about HWTH, please contact Rachel: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Give thanks people are still coming – from many nationalities – with a desire to serve in refugee and migrant ministry.
• For God to continue opening paths for new mission workers to join HWTH and more churches and agencies to send them.
• For new opportunities to share the gospel with some of the hardest-to-reach people who are now in our midst.
First published on SIM UK website.