‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a 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.’ Matthew 25:35-36
The Bible is filled with stories that show how God wants us to care for the earth, other people, and ourselves. And he has a special heart for those in great need, such as refugees. The story of the Israelites, of Jesus, of Noah, Abraham and Moses, and so many others in the Bible were all people who had to leave their homes and were considered strangers in foreign lands – wanderers, and refugees. The Israelites were delivered from slavery in Egypt then wandered in the desert for forty years. Baby Jesus and his parents left their home and fled to Egypt to escape Herod’s wrath, and more importantly, Jesus left his home in heaven in order to be with us on earth, in order to save humanity. The early church believers in the book of Acts spread out from and left Jerusalem in order to save their lives, but as a result the Good News travelled to new corners of the world. All fled their homeland for different reasons. But each time God has taken these difficulties and used them for His purposes, by taking a special interest in those who are on the fringes of society.
God still takes special care of people like that today. Today, there are 59.5 million people in the world who are forcibly displaced due to persecution and conflict, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (2014). They include people running for their lives and fleeing from their homes. Many even have to leave their country. There are also people in our own cities who do not have a place to live in, who must survive on the streets or other dangerous places. God is working out His plans and purposes, and that includes teaching us as His people, how we are to take care of these people that are so dear to Him.
Matthew 25:35-36 is a verse that highlights God’s heart for the stranger, the outsider, and the refugee. Many biblical passages like this one describe how God wants us to treat and protect those in our midst. We are all part of God’s family, and together we are all children of God – that’s why we have to look after each other. In these lessons, we will learn more about how we can respect and care for each other. It starts by listening to each other’s stories, thinking about what we can do to show God’s love, and reflecting on the great love that God has for all of us!
Hola (Hi)! My name is Luis* and I am 8 years old. I live with my mom and dad and younger brother in prison. We have been here for six years already. Mom said that dad made a big mistake and had to go to prison, and so we had to go live there also. Mom worries about my brother and I growing up in prison, but she wants us to stay together as a family. During the day, we are free to come and go from the prison. It is just my dad who has to stay inside.
Hello or Marhaban, as we say in Arabic! My name is Amira* and I’m 12 years old. I have 4 younger brothers and sisters. My family used to live in Syria, until the war broke out in our country. There were bombings close to our house and it was scary. There was a curfew set for everyone at 6 p.m. I know some kids have curfews (which is a time their parents set for when they have to be home after being out with friends), but during war-time, a curfew is to keep everyone safe. After dark, it becomes
Hi! My name is Fatma and I’m 10 years old. I have two younger sisters and two younger brothers. My family used to live in Somalia, but because of civil war, they escaped to Kenya. I was born in Kenya so I don’t know what Somalia’s like. Together with my mom, we all live in my uncle’s small apartment in a busy Kenyan city. Our neighborhood is a very crowded and noisy place. It was really hard for mom when she arrived in Kenya. She said that she was very lonely and sad. She had no one to help
Hi, my name is Farid*. I am 10 years old. About three years ago, my family had to leave our home in Syria because of the war. There was so much fighting and bombing. We were very scared. Some children would run and hide when they heard airplanes coming. We rode a bus for many hours until we arrived at the border of Lebanon. Along the way we saw more fighting and things exploding around us. It was a scary journey. Lebanon is now our new home but there are things that I still miss from my home in