With all the news that is going on, Christians need to focus on those things that affect the kingdom of God, and those that call for our involvement. One of the things we should focusing on is the current refugee crisis in South Sudan. At present, Uganda has seen very close to one million refugees spilling across its border as the result of a four-year civil war in that young nation. Another approximately 800,000 have fled to other lands. Most of the refugees in Uganda are children. Furthermore, a great many of the refugees are Christians. Untold numbers of Christians and others have been killed. Some news reports have called South Sudan the world’s youngest and most deadly nation.
Where does one begin to describe what is happening? The U.N. has reported on events that would sicken almost anyone. They contain descriptions of people being burned alive, suffocated in containers, shot, hung from trees or cut to pieces. Children and disabled people are among the many victims. Franklin Graham from Samaritan’s Purse says the “whole region is on fire with bloodshed.” Making matters worse is the severe famine that ravages parts of South Sudan.
It takes very little imagination to come to the conclusion that Uganda does not have the resources to handle the refugees. The U.N. says that at least $674 million is needed to support the large number of refugees. Furthermore, only about one fifth of the needed funds have arrived. At the moment, Canada has contributed generously to the crisis. Furthermore, the Canadian military has brought in troops to protect civilians, investigate human rights violations and create conditions that would allow humanitarian aid to flow easily to the places most needed.
But what can Christians do? For one, we should educate ourselves to the largest refugee crisis in the world. Whereas so much of the media is concentrating on the continuing presidential crisis in the U.S., we should be different. We need to know where there is need. Second, we should pray earnestly for the situation. Third, we need to look for Christian organizations that are actively involved. Furthermore, we should take note of the fact that the federal government has a program to match funds in this crisis. Already, Canadians have given over $21 million.
But all of this reminds us that refugee crisis around the world are real. In a day of suspicion and negative reaction to refugees, let us as believers be known for our compassion and our open hearts toward those who are suffering. Let us remember the words of James 2:15-17 – “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”