EEA Newsletter May 2016

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Editotorial

Responding to the Crisis

Thomas BucherEvangelicals in Europe have responded in a wonderful way to the Refugee and Asylum Crisis. So many have opened their hearts, their hands, their diaries, their purses, their houses, their churches …

And God has blessed. He has surprised the ones who have responded and sometimes even the ones who have not planned to respond. There are hundreds of stories of very thankful refugees for all they have received.

And there are so many reports of refugees who have asked for the Christian message. Refugees who have had dreams sending them to specific churches to ask for the message of life. There are churches who suddenly find more refugees than locals in their active membership. And so many more stories like this could be told.

Responding to the ongoing crisis

It has not all been easy. The first excitement has faded. Cultures and expectations clash. Misunderstandings have come up.

So many times refugees just don’t know and make mistakes. This could be avoided by simply doing what is done in some places: A course which introduces basic rules and regulations. Refugees are told how to go about renting a flat in Germany; why punctuality is important in Switzerland; where and how to do groceries in Sweden; and so on. Giving such courses also fosters interaction and interaction decreases fear and builds trust.

Trust is very much needed in the ongoing integration. Many of the refugees are going to stay. Actually the longer they stay the higher the likelihood that they will never return to their countries.

This means shifting gears from crisis into integration mode. And this means equipping oneself with endurance. Crisis management is one thing, helping people to settle, even if it is only temporarily is quite a different story.

Responding to fear

It is absolutely normal that the unknown situation and the unknown person cause insecurity and possibly fear. Nationalist parties in many European countries have played to that tune and already profited from it. Elections show this clearly. There is a shift to nationalism and populism.

Some of what these nationalist parties say is quite true. But the question is to which conclusion do they come. Do they help their constituency to overcome fear or do they use the fear to sow more insecurity in order to trigger austere responses and legislation?

As Christians we should know that Love drives out Fear. And we also should know that God is not a god of Disorder but a God of Peace!

Responding with Hope

Looking how many times the word Hope is used in the bible is so uplifting and reason to not despair.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Rm 15,13

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1. Cor,13,13

Just living this out will do.

 

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Thomas Bucher

 

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