Speed the Light Project Focuses on European Refugee Crisis
In 2015, over 1 million refugees sought asylum on European shores. So far, 2016 has already seen over 136,000 additional refugees desperately seeking a new life for themselves and their families. They have risked their lives traveling by sea through deplorable conditions to escape war and the oppression of Islam.
AG World Missionaries are doing all they can to meet the practical and spiritual needs of these refugees. “If we preach a gospel apart from justice and compassion, we preach a gospel Jesus never preached. If we act upon injustice with compassion, apart from the gospel, we merely offer people a better brand of misery. God cares about human rights,” says Heath Adamson, senior director of Youth Ministries.
In response, Speed the Light is equipping AG World Missionaries with the necessary supplies to be the hands and feet of Jesus to these refugees. On April 4-5 in Scottsdale, Arizona, Speed the Light held a special Spring Summit. The summit brought together district youth directors (DYDs), top 20 giving churches, and other youth leaders to cast vision for Speed the Light, as well as pledge how much their district will give towards a specific special project.
This spring, the main project is the European refugee crisis with over $260,000 being pledged. AG World Missionaries have requested items like video projectors, MP3 devices, generators, team vehicles, portable sound systems, translation equipment, and even a mobile soup kitchen unit.
Parker Dickerson, DYD from West Texas, commented on the significance of this project: “The Speed the Light Summit in Scottsdale this spring is a monumental moment for youth ministries and churches across the USA. This is the door we must walk through to carry the gospel to the unreached. At no other time has there been an opportunity like this, and we have to seize the moment. I'm thankful to be a part of a fellowship that will use whatever means necessary to carry the gospel to those who are far from God, and I'm thankful for Speed the Light serving as the vehicle to make it possible.”
Real-life stories (like the one below) from missionary “first responders” capture the need for Speed the Light to provide essential transportation and creative communication equipment for our missionaries who are temporarily setting aside their usual activities to focus on relief efforts.
Emotionally, the refugees are simply exhausted. Physically, many are dealing with infections and illnesses. Our team is doing what we can to provide warmer clothes, blankets, and other items. Spiritually, there is a continual hunger to learn about the reality of Christ. ISIS has helped reveal the true nature of Islam, and an overwhelming majority are responding to the gospel message. One young man I prayed with said, “I don’t believe in Mohammad. I don’t believe in Islam. I want to know about Jesus. Where can I find a church? Where can I find a priest to pray with me?” We prayed right there under the umbrella of our soup distribution area.
This is a significant moment for the history of Speed the Light. AG World Missionaries are on the front lines of one of, if not the worst, refugee crisis since World War II.
As Jason Carter, youth pastor from Glad Tidings AG in Omaha, Nebraska, puts it, “Risky faith demands creative solutions in partnership with an unlimited God. We believe part of our mission is to create change in the earth. Can’t wait to get started and see what all of us can do together in Europe.”
The summit also presented projects to help replace Convoy of Hope’s aging disaster response vehicles as well as assisting with the India Tablet Project — a project that is providing 10,000 Kindles, loaded with 57 Global University church-planting curriculum courses, to pastors and students in India so they can start churches in unreached areas.