5 Must-Know Facts About the Refugee Crisis
March 29, 2016
By Matt Morrison
It has been one of the biggest news stories of the past year but it’s a movement that has been ongoing for nearly half a decade. The refugee crisis in Europe has become a divisive topic as states struggle to handle the influx of people streaming over their borders. It has created an unprecedented humanitarian crisis that the entire western world is forced to acknowledge. As you look for ways to act, here are five critical realities that all Christians should understand:
1. Refugees are people without a state.
A refugee is defined as an individual forced to leave his or her country to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. Refugees are unique to other immigrants in that they are unable to return home without facing imminent physical danger. They aren’t just homeless but stateless too. Entering another country under refugee status is often difficult and humiliating.
2. It’s the biggest humanitarian crisis since World War II.
The current crisis is the largest humanitarian issue since the 1940s when the world went to war and Hitler murdered millions of European Jews. People are fleeing their homes at an unprecedented rate that has stretched and challenged states trying to accommodate them. Many refugees have headed north to Europe for its open border policies within the EU.
3. It’s not just Syrians.
Most people think of the refugee crisis as a single-source issue, namely the Syrian civil war. However, Syria is not the only country in crisis. Eastern Ukranians have left their homes due to civil war. In Yemen, the government has completely disappeared. Meanwhile, Boko Haram continues to terrorize countries like Nigeria and Cameroon. Other refugees are fleeing due to natural disasters or decades-old conflicts in their homelands.
4. The 10/40 window is shifting with it.
Among missionaries, the 10/40 window describes the area between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator where the largest concentration of unreached people groups resides. It’s the spiritually darkest part of the globe and it’s often difficult, if not impossible, to reach many of these people with the Gospel. The refugee crisis has displaced many of these groups who would otherwise remain unengaged, creating an opportunity to advance the Gospel that hasn’t been seen for decades.
5. It is one of the most significant social changes in a generation.
While the crisis may not be front-and-center on the evening news anymore, the problem is still getting worse. Many experts are now predicting a permanent change in the ethnic composition of Europe. The continent is increasingly tied to its neighboring regions, significantly impacting the way the Church approaches ministry in Europe and abroad.
You Can Make a Difference!
As we seek effective and sustainable ways to serve refugees, it’s important to understand that God has at work as never before. You can join teams spreading the Gospel among them in Germany this year. Visit www.e3partners.org/germany to learn more.