The Syrian civil war and the atrocities of ISIS have spurred Syrians and other people groups to flee the country in unprecedented numbers. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over 3 million persons have fled Syria and taken refuge in the countries immediately surrounding it. Refugees are now risking their lives by crossing the Mediterranean Sea into Greece, with an estimated 800,000 hoping to start new lives in Germany.
Mission to the World (MTW) missionaries throughout Europe are working to provide relief and hope to these refugees.
MTW missionaries in Slovakia have partnered with contacts in Budapest to minister to refugees living in temporary refugee camps on the Hungarian-Serbian border. The Slovakia team travels to the border to distribute food and water, diapers, and other supplies. Team members also clean up the camp, answer refugees’ questions, and serve as the hands and feet of Christ.
In Greece, the team is assisting local congregations of the Greek Evangelical Church as they reach out to arriving refugees. Ethnic Syrians arriving in Greece receive refugee status quickly and soon move on to other European countries. But refugees of other ethnicities, such as Afghans, Iraqis, and Iranians, have come ashore as well. Non-Syrians are considered economic migrants and are sent to makeshift camps. It is these people without status who missionaries and partner churches in Greece are seeking to assist and encourage.
As the United States prepares for its own, smaller influx of refugees, MTW missionaries in the U.S. are prepared to assist.
Because the Syrian conflict has triggered the largest humanitarian crisis the world has seen since World War II, MTW workers throughout Europe and the Middle East have poured their own resources into meeting the tremendous needs of displaced persons. The needs are great, and the solutions are not easy.
For more information, including information on how to donate, visit https://www.mtw.org/projects/details/syrian-refugees.