I was overwhelmed this week in reading the stats around global migration and even more disturbed by the accompanying images. Over 15 million people have left their place of birth in just the past 12 months and ventured forth to a destination unknown. That brings the total number of global migrants to 244 million with over 20 million being refugees. Two major corridors have swelled: from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe, and from Central America to the U.S. The latest group of refugees didn’t just choose to move and become migrants by choice, but rather were forced out of their home because of starvation, war, and persecution. Forced to go to a strange place with an unknown certainty leaves them in the most vulnerable position.
The global Church has a moral responsibility to not only be aware of the plight of these migrants, but to make every effort to extend unto these who have been displaced and often lost everything of value to them the grace, love and compassion of God who loves them. For those who have lost loved ones in this journey, there is even greater devastation and hopelessness. Just for perspective it helps contextually to be aware that 15 million people is the size of the entire population of the following countries: Ecuador, Guatemala, Cameroon, and Cambodia each have around 15 million. Can you imagine that many displaced people in a year? Sadly, that is way too many hurting and displaced people in need of hope, help, and a place to call home.
We are awakening that these migrants come with a message. Christians above all should be keenly aware of the message that these migrant families bring. Stop the war, stop the violence, stop the persecution, stop the ethnic cleansing, and somebody help us by intervening in such horrific human injustice. Jesus was a migrant with a message that brought these very things to a lost and dying world around him rife with issues and pain.
Lord, we pray that the Church would awaken and begin our own migration towards and with these who have been displaced. That we would share with those migrants of the message of the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ and deliver the hope, help, and place to call home that God would desire for all people. We stand at a level place at the foot of the cross knowing we need God and we need one another. Let us be, for these who are hurting, the love of God in Christ in real and helpful ways.
One way to respond immediately is by joining me and the ministry of UMCOR in praying for and supporting the 30 plus resettlement camps that we have established for real help in a time of real crisis.