Loving the stranger
Bay Area's response to the refugee crisis
What does Bay Area say about refugees?
As Greg says, “If you were to describe Bay Area in one word, it would be: ‘Jesus.’” At Bay Area, we are all about Jesus. The fact that Jesus was a refugee strikes a chord with us; it breaks our heart. It moves us to take action. We’re also motivated by Jesus’ command to love our neighbor as ourselves. We take that command seriously and desire to see it boldly lived out in our church body.
You’re probably familiar with our mission statement: “making passionate, maturing followers of Jesus from here to the nations.” We are at a pivotal time in history where the nations are moving next door, by choice or by force. We no longer have to get on a 14-hour plane ride to reach a new people group (although we will continue to do that as well). Nations are settling within our borders because of strife- nations that have quite possibly never heard the name Jesus before. We now have a duty to share Jesus with peoples whose only opportunity to hear and trust Jesus as Lord is through the very crisis that drove them from their home. We have an opportunity to take God’s name to the nations, and that might be as simple as going next door.
Making disciples of all nations is what we’re called to do as followers of Jesus and it’s our greatest motivator as a church. Instead of reinventing the wheel and trying to discern how we can create something new to serve and love the refugees among us, we are partnering with World Relief, who has been one of the leading organizations on resourcing and resettling refugees since 1944.
Below are several pictures of refugees that World Relief has resettled over the last couple years. Click the pictures to scroll through them.
World Relief’s mission is to empower the local church to serve the most vulnerable. Let’s look at that again: World Relief desires to empower the local church (hey that’s us!) to serve the most vulnerable (which includes refugees). They exist to help us do well what God commands. Their mission comes to fruition in multiple arenas- disaster response, health and child development, refugee and immigration services, economic development and peace-building. We have specifically made their Anne Arundel office a Local Outreach Partner which focuses solely on resettling and resourcing refugees. To learn more about World Relief Anne Arundel (WRAA), click the logo above and interact with their engaging website.
For both WRAA and us here at Bay Area, we are significantly motivated by what the Bible says about refugees. As Stephen Bauman, president of World Relief, said so well, “It’s also our conviction that our commitment to the Scriptures compels us to continue with this vital ministry. Among the refugees World Relief has resettled over the past few years, more were persecuted Christians than any other religious background. Welcoming refugees presents an important opportunity to stand with the persecuted Church: When we welcome one of ‘the least of these,’ Jesus tells us, we welcome Him (Matthew 25:31-46).”
Below is a video that shows the impact and scope of World Relief's work as they resettle refugees.
SO how can i respond?
It's a great question! Thanks for asking. Bay Area is responding to the refugee crisis by partnering with World Relief. Now you and I have the opportunity to respond personally. Below are three great first steps to responding to this crisis: pray, learn, serve. These are simplified and only scratch the surface, so if you have a burning desire to do something immediate and intimate with refugees, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As Oswald Chambers so eloquently says, "Prayer does not equip us for greater works— prayer is the greater work." And right now, refugees need a great work. We need to pray for refugees.
Below is a button that will take you to a prayer guide. This is developed by World Relief and is a great way to have a focused time of praying for those who are hurting around the world. You can find more information on their webpage here: www.worldrelief.org/pray
Another great resource for guidance on praying for refugees can be found at this website: www.prayforrefugees.com
The depressing world of the refugee is vast. There is so much more to learn. The more we learn, the better we are equipped to serve and love them. Below are several links which will help educate on the issue at hand:
- World Relief's Blog
- A Blog Post About Jesus
- Current Stats and Data on the Syrian Crisis
- UNHCR Resource Page
You can also sign up to join a group from Bay Area that is reading the latest book on the refugee crisis in the world. Click the button below to email us and tell us you want to read Seeking Refuge with us.
To serve in the future, please fill out the form below.