On Sunday, June 20, organizations and individuals around the world gathered to commemorate World Refugee Day. Created in 2000 by the United Nations, in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), they hope to increase awareness about the forcibly displaced and stateless people of the world.
Although much of the World Refugee Day’s focus was on large groups of displaced people, Christians in many parts of the world suffer unnoticed. Iraqi Christians have fled violence in their home country into countries such as Syria and Jordan, and in Pakistan Christians have left their homes and villages because of oppression, persecution and violence. In an interview an Arab Christian woman, she shares the following story.
“My grandfather was born in one village, grew up, got married and died in the same village. I was born in one city, and by the age of 10, I already had lived in three different countries and moved five times because my parents were looking for better job opportunities. After marriage, and by the age of 35, I had already moved 15 times mainly because of war situations in my home country! Now, having worked with different NGOs, one of my job requirements is travelling. Last month, I changed the place I sleep seven times, in three different countries. I no longer know where my “home” is; I feel like a citizen of the world!”
“Some of the moves over the years were done willingly but for most of them, I had no choice! One day I was so worried that I couldn’t sleep; so, I sat down to figure out how I would overcome this fear. What is the worst thing that can happen to me? If I cannot afford to sleep in a building, I will go and sleep under a tree. Then, I looked back into the past years and saw how God had taken good care of me. If, by faith I am God’s child, according to His promises in the Bible, He will continue to take care of me. So, having these thoughts, I began singing; ‘You are my hiding place, You always fill my heart with songs of deliverance, Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you!’ That was it, my fears were gone! I still do not own my own place to live, but I carry the same song in my heart.”
Father, our true home is in You. For those without an earthly home, You are their anchor and hope. We call on You to provide shelter and food and to comfort them in their loneliness and fear. Thank You for Your presence with them.
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