Meeting the Practical Needs of Europe's Refugees
Throughout September, Assemblies of God World Missions has continued to work closely with missionaries, national churches, and Convoy of Hope in Europe as a flood of refugees continues to strain local governments.
"The U.N. estimates nearly 250,000 people have crossed through Greece this year alone," says AG missionary Tony Sebastian.
During early September, Sebastian and his team watched as many as 8,000 people a day passed through a field and waited on train tracks ready to move to the Macedonia side. They have given out shoes to barefoot children, and formula and diapers to mothers with babies. And they look for creative ways to minister to very practical needs.
"Communication is critical as people want to call home to let families know they are safe, or try to find family already in Europe, or to try and find out how the migration path is working," Sebastian explains. "We have had a generator on site for phone charging."
Christian workers have been working with International Christian Fellowship in Athens to assist refugees near the city.
"During a food and clothing distribution, the entire foyer and hallways of ICF were full of Syrians, both Christian and Muslim," one worker says.
Refugees flocking onto trains and following other routes often find themselves in camps in other nations with no time frame for permanent asylum. In Austria, Vienna Christian Center continues to serve thousands of refugees at a camp near the church.
"We are so grateful for a shipment of Bibles in Arabic and Farsi," says Larry Henderson, who leads VCC with his wife Melinda. "We quickly sent a team to the refugee center to distribute them. The need is enormous. We saw a record influx of 20,000 refugees pass through Austria just over the weekend of Sept. 18-20."
Convoy of Hope Europe is especially engaged in camps in France and Belgium.
"We have given out about 6,000 packets of supplies as well as some cooking stoves and other resources at 'The Jungle,' an overcrowded and sometimes lawless camp near Calais, France," says AGWM missionary and Convoy of Hope Europe Director Michael McNamee. "We are also preparing to build a temporary church in the camp. We have a similar outreach ongoing at a camp in Belgium."
The need is vast, and growing, and will continue to expand. By addressing the continental crisis incrementally, AGWM and its partners are making a difference. For more information, visit http://agwm.com/.
Images courtesy of AG World Missions