95,000 Afghan Refugees Could Come to the United States: How Will Christians Help?
REMARK: Thanks to Shane Bennett for writing the Daily article. He has written for Denison Forum before, and we appreciate his knowledge and insight in reaching Muslims with the gospel.
According to New York Times, âAs of September 14, approximately 64,000 evacuees from Afghanistan have arrived in the United States. . . . Nearly 49,000 live on eight national military bases, awaiting relocation to the United States. “
By this time next year, a total of ninety-five thousand is expected.
We haven’t seen anything like it since the end of the Vietnam War. As government agencies work around the clock and refugee aid organizations quickly reorganize, many American Christians may ask, “What’s going on in the world? “And” How can we help? “
My friend Ginny said, âI was heartbroken watching what was happening to the Afghans, but I didn’t want to sit in a place of shattering. I asked myself, “What can I do as a mother, a normal person, to warmly welcome some of those who have suffered so much?” So I wentogle âhelping Afghan refugeesâ, picked an organization that popped up and organized a visit. My whole family went there. We were told several ways to help, then we went out and let the children spend their money on buying the basics for setting up an apartment for Afghan refugees.
I expect stories like Ginny’s to multiply across the country in the coming weeks, in part because Americans tend to be generous and willing to help. We will also see stories grow as Christians like us obey the clear teaching of the scriptures for situations like this.
What does the Bible say about refugees?
Leviticus 19:34 says, âThe stranger who resides among you should be treated as your native. Love them as yourself, for you were strangers in Egypt. I am Lá´Êá´ your God â(NIV).
It is not a light instruction.
“Love them as you do, remembering where you came from.” Few of us have experienced what Afghan refugees go through, but at the heart of our theology is the truth that we have been lost and have been found. We were strangers who experienced the amazing kindness of God.
Thus, we share the goodness of God.
In case we are tempted to say, âWell, this is the Old Testament,â Jesus bends over backwards in our grid in his debate with the lawyer in Luke 10. The principle is this: love the Lord your God with all your heart. , soul, strength and spirit and love your neighbor as yourself.
Jesus’ response to âWho is my neighborâ came in the form of the Good Samaritan story. It ends when Jesus actually says to the lawyer (and you and me), âGo act like the Samaritan. Show mercy to those in need. Do it regardless of ethnicity and cultural mistrust.
This Afghan migration to our shores may be the greatest opportunity in years for us to obey Jesus’ instructions to act like the Good Samaritan.
How can I help Afghan refugees?
If you feel a little anxious about so many people coming to the United States from a place like Afghanistan, you are not alone.
With respect, may I remind you of what Jesus told us about worry in Matthew 6:33? âBut first seek his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will also be given to youâ (NIV).
Some of the Afghans arriving in the United States right now are going to commit crimes. I pray that no one engages in terrorism, but bad things will happen to both them and to them. Nonetheless, we are called to the work of the kingdom of Jesus, and that means loving the Afghans when they arrive in our country.
So what can normal Christians do?
Believe that God knows this situation much better than we do and that He has the power to open doors, comfort hearts, and bring people back to Him. Let’s ask him to do it!
Download this simple half-page prayer guide and see if you can get it in your church bulletin this week. Plus, the incredible talent of PrayerCast.com produces some great videos that will help you pray for Afghans.
Imagine that you only have the clothes you are wearing and the money (not the cards!) Currently in your pocket. Your wife holds your hand in a way that communicates her fear. And your kids are asking, “When will we get there?” But this time you don’t even know where you’re going! This is the reality for many Afghans as they make their way to the United States.
If you have more than clothes on your back and cash in your pocket, you can probably help them. Check out Welcome.US, a growing opportunity clearinghouse, or do like Ginny and Google something local.
If you feel like swinging towards the fence, do what I just did and sign up through AirBnB.org to open your guest room (or RV!) To Afghan refugees. It only took about five minutes.
3. Make friends
The current crisis will fade from the news as they all do, but over 100,000 potential new Americans will still need help. Long-term friendships cost more than money. They take time, attention and energy. But, as the people of Jesus, we have been given the grace and the mandate to connect. It’s not for all of us, but it might be for you.
If you’re ready to take little more than a small step, find a way to invite an Afghan family to their very first American Thanksgiving dinner! If you’re a man, here are some manly ways to form friendships with Muslims.
Lobby your church to make strategic contributions of care, prayer, money, and friendship.
Mike Bell, pastor and director of Healing Nations, says, âYou don’t have to wait for your church to understand this. Look for a great opportunity, then you can potentially bring your church with you.
I recently received approval from my pastor for our church to meet the start-up needs of an Afghan apartment in Denver.
5. Log in
If arriving Afghans don’t land near you, how about being kind to Muslims nearby?
There are several million of them in the United States, at work, on the streets, in the next town. Some have been here for generations. Many are successful, with children and communities of which they are proud. Most would be ready to chat with us. We would probably learn something, and so would they.
May the God who opened the doors to this blessed influx of Afghans open opportunities for each of us, as he sees fit, to extend the love, grace, present peace and hope of Jesus to the Afghans. and newcomer Muslims everywhere.
A note from Shane Bennett: If I can assist you in your or your church’s efforts to reach out to Muslims, please Let me know. If you want a fun weekly reminder of how much God loves Muslims, sign up for Muslim connection, my weekly 300 word email.