By Andrew Gale, Executive Director of Global Strategy
The world is constantly changing. I do not mean that to be a statement of direction (everything is getting worse or better), but a reality we live within. The world that we engage with, the churches that we walk alongside, they are experiencing change—and it seems like the change is speeding up as our interconnectedness grows.
At Global Strategy, we know we can’t keep up with all the changes that are happening, but as a team we have made a commitment to continue to learn and grow through educational opportunities. Each week during our staff meeting we discuss something new—an article, a podcast, or chapters in a book we are reading together. These learning moments benefit us in our roles at Global Strategy, but they also encourage us toward being lifelong learners.
Currently, we’re discussing the novel Refugee by Alan Gratz. The book weaves three stories of refugees from different eras. Josef and his family are Jews escaping Germany in 1938 aboard the MS St. Louis, a ship headed to Cuba. Isabel and her family are fleeing Cuba aboard a makeshift boat in 1990 heading to the United States. Mahmoud and his family are leaving Syria by any way possible, trying to make their way to Europe in 2015. The author brings to life in powerful ways the reality and struggle of the refugees’ evolving situations—many of which are hard to read.
When we started this book, we had no idea that the story of Mahmoud fleeing Syria would be mirrored again in the lives of people in Afghanistan. Our hearts are broken by the stories we are hearing from Christians in Afghanistan. We read text messages sent from pastors that express the despair and helplessness they feel. And, even in the midst of hardship, they ask us to pray not only for those who are being persecuted but for those who are persecuting, that they will find the life-changing message of Jesus.
In reading the book and seeing the stories play out again in real time, I am again reminded that what we all want is to feel safe. Our brothers and sisters around the world do not always feel safe. My prayer for the church in the United States and around the world is that we will be a place of welcome and sanctuary when we have the opportunity. May we be the hands and feet of Jesus to the vulnerable in their time of deepest need.
If you or your church would like to support Afghan refugees, Global Strategy is partnering with other organizations to provide opportunities to US churches to tangibly support those fleeing Afghanistan. Email Andrew Gale at email@example.com for more information.