International Ministries

Here You Are Showing Us Kindness

April 14, 2014 Journal
Join the 2972a432a74b4583829edc19ff319dbd9e825c34d424d8aee9fa0e79b5eacefd Tweet

“In my country we are killing each other, here you are showing us kindness.”  This quote by a Syrian refugee in Bulgaria reminded us of two important facts.  One: these refugees are fleeing a situation we can only faintly even imagine.  Two: Christ-like kindness has transforming powers.  Current statistics indicate that 1 out of every 157 persons in the world is a Forcibly Displaced Person.  This group includes refugees, internally displaced persons, asylum-seekers and stateless persons.  Think about that for a minute, 1 out of every 157 persons.   45.2 million.  23,000 added to the number every day.   Bulgaria has seen a dramatic increase in the number of refugees entering the country, now estimated to be approximately 10,000, with some estimating that the number will reach 19,000 in 2014.  All this in a country with facilities designed for no more than 5000 refugees.     

It might be easy to look at the enormity of the situation and feel overwhelmed, as if we could do nothing.  These are not only statistics.  They are men, women and children, each with their own story.  Stories of the young man fleeing Syria with his two young daughters, both under 2 years of age, the youngest one seriously ill.  Daughters who will grow up without their mother after she was killed in a bombing.  Or the story of the young man also from Syria, who was studying chemical engineering, but now living in a camp in Bulgaria, hoping that someday, somewhere, he might be able to continue his studies.  Or the stories of young African men fleeing economic hardship or war, leaving families behind, hoping they can find work in Europe and send money home.  45.2 million stories. 

The Bible is full of stories of refugees--Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Ruth, David, just to name a few.  Jesus and his parents were also refugees.  In Mathew 2:13-15 we read:  When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.  “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt.  Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”  So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod.  And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Not only are there stories of refugees in the Bible, but we can also find numerous verses speaking to us about how we are to treat the refugee.  Such as Exodus 22:21—Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt.  Or in Mathew 25:35-36—“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”  

The churches in Bulgaria are responding to the needs of the refugees, providing meals, clothing, shoes, furnishings for the camps and other necessities.  It has been wonderful to see how the church has responded positively to the new cultures on their doorstep in the midst of a society that often views the refugee with suspicion or downright disdain.  Plans are being put in motion to also provide Bulgarian language lessons and activities for the children.  Please pray with us, as together with the Bulgarian church, we seek to put Christ-like kindness into action.     


Although it hardly seems possible, four years have passed and we are once again due to be in the United States for a year. We will be based in the Fort Collins area of Colorado. This time will be different for us as both AJ and Nathan will be in college and we will be adjusting to being empty-nesters.

We are already planning our speaking schedule for the year and if your church or group is interested in hearing more about Bulgaria and the work taking place, please contact us so we can make the necessary arrangements. We would love to come share with you how God is working in Bulgaria!