Day after day, we see images of migrants and refugees, trying to escape the violence of war and the hopelessness of poverty.
Migrants and refugees are risking their lives—cramming themselves behind car engines, dying in the backs of insulated trucks, sailing in unstable vessels, slipping through razor wire fences—hoping to find asylum in the European Union.
Hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing adverse conditions in the Middle East and Africa. In order to get from their home countries to the European Union, many are attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Many land in Greece, and then try to make their way—across multiple borders—toward Germany, where the likelihood of finding asylum is greater.
Germany, Greece, and other countries are buckling under the weight of so many people pouring across their borders. Germany alone anticipates 800,000 migrants and refugees to enter their country this year.
Meanwhile, in countries like Syria, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Eritrea, the only hope of finding refuge from oppressive and violent regimes is to get out. The seemingly endless stream of people fleeing toward safety continues, until the refugees find themselves stranded in places like Turkey and Budapest—exhausted, hungry, and broke.
The European Union is going to have to figure out the best way to face this growing crisis, but as they work through the layers of red tape, children are dying, and the rest of the refugees are running out of time.
And it’s not up to the European Union alone. The problem is too big for any individual or community or church, but that does not mean we should do nothing. Here are some practical ways we can help feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and offer a glass of water to those who are waiting at the doorstep of freedom and peace:
Get up to speed: Many of the stories about this crisis are heartbreaking to read, but it’s important for us to be informed about what’s going on. Watch the news. Search for stories online (keywords include: EU migrant crisis, refugees, Budapest, Germany, Greece, Syrian), and educate yourself. Start here or here.
Pray: Prayer changes things. Ask God to lead you to the information you need to know, and ask him to help you see these events the way he sees them. Then ask God how he’d like for you to help.
Support and give: There are several organizations on the ground, helping to provide aid in many different and specific ways. Take a look at these suggestions.
Share: Social media is a great way to raise awareness about these kinds of stories. But more and more, people want to know, “How can I help?” In addition to raising awareness, be sure to share some of the practical ways those in your sphere of influence can help.
Use the links in this article to help you get up to speed. Join us in prayer. Sit down with your friends or spouse or children or grandchildren, and choose where you can offer support together. Donate books. Fund general relief. Support doctors. Do something.
At the very least, share this article, the one you are reading right now, with your church, your neighbors, your family and friends. Be sure to point to specific ways you have found to offer hope to those who are suffering.
And, if you find other practical ways to lend support, let us know in the comments.