- find out how Nazarenes in Croatia, Armenia and elsewhere are assisting refugees from Syria, and how you can help;
- get information about how to promote this year’s thank offering in your local church;
- learn what happened when youth in Ukraine organized a mission trip to work with unchurched teens in Moldova;
- see photos of the first week of classes at the Nazarene school in Lebanon;
- and more.
A Letter from the Church of the Nazarene denomination’s Board of General Superintendents:
As the war in Syria stretches into its fifth year, the number of people who have had to flee their homes due to violence or persecution has reached 12 million — half of them children — according to the United Nations. The number of Syrians who have become refugees in other countries has reached 4 million since 2011.
Add to those numbers another 15.5 million refugees who have had to flee war, violence, and persecution in other countries, including Afghanistan and Somalia. As the number of refugees worldwide who are fleeing to countries in Europe continues to increase, experts are calling this the greatest refugee crisis since World War II.
During this crisis, the Board of General Superintendents is calling on the Church of the Nazarene to respond.
“Nazarenes are among those who have had to flee their countries to escape violent conflict,” the BGS wrote in a letter to the church. “Nazarenes are also among those who have had to flee because faith in Jesus has put their lives in danger. And Nazarenes are among those who have been ministering to refugee families who are seeking safety and hope.”
The message continues, “Prayer is always our first response.
Hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the Middle East have trudged across southeastern Europe for weeks, buffeted by the rapidly changing policies and politics of various European governments, as they try to make their way to Germany or Austria.
When Hungary shut its border on the 15th, Croatia threw open its borders and welcomed the travelers with open arms.
In Croatia, resident Nazarene missionaries Dave and Betsy Scott, and Ashley Huber, now find themselves with an overwhelming, unexpected opportunity as so far 35,000 people have entered Croatia in the last week. According to Betsy, Croatian authorities estimate another 80,000 refugees are on their way. (Read more about the latest developments in this Snapshot.)
On Monday, Betsy explained what our team in Zagreb have been doing and what the current situation is for the refugees in Croatia.
Eurasia Communications: What have you been doing to respond to the refugees needs?
Betsy Scott: Such a variety of ways, from helping to coordinate mobilization in Zagreb and eastern Croatia, being proactive in partnering with people and learning the up-to-date needs on the ground. Just that alone has been a 24-hour job. We’ve also been able to help by
- picking up trash
- helping shut down a refugee camp
- buying and delivering much needed tangible material things, like providing tents when there were only 10 tents for a group of 1000 people,
- helping set up a mobile Internet hot spot station for refugees to connect with their loved ones,
- buying hygiene products, baby food, food, water and other supplies.
Hundreds of thousands of people leaving the Middle East have trudged across southeastern Europe for weeks, buffeted by the rapidly changing policies and politics of various European governments, as they try to make their way to Germany or Austria.
Before 15 September, the refugees initially were flowing through Hungary, where missionaries Jay and Teanna Sunberg and others spent time with those waiting at train and bus stations for transportation to Germany, and also distributed emergency supplies. When Hungary shut its border on the 15th, Croatia announced that it welcomed the travelers with open arms.
In Croatia, resident Nazarene missionaries Dave and Betsy Scott, and Ashley Huber, now find themselves with an overwhelming, unexpected opportunity, as so far 35,000 people have entered Croatia in the last week. According to Betsy, Croatian authorities estimate another 80,000 refugees are on their way. (Read Betsy’s first person observations about the situation here.)
Huber and the Scotts have thrown themselves into the relief work, in partnership with Christian friends and numerous organizations and churches, to provide emergency relief to the people, as well as set up transition centers where people can sleep before journeying on.
There are two borders between Croatia and Slovenia where they have been focusing their help: Harmica, and Bregana.
- find out how Nazarenes in India and South Asia trained for volunteer mission service through M+Power;
- hear from our denominational leaders about the Middle East — and now European — refugee crisis;
- learn about a German mission team that partnered with Nazarenes in Armenia on a business endeavor;
- and more.