"For the LORD your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed. He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing. So you, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt (Deuteronomy 10:17-19).
The news reports were unbelievable. Over 16,000 people crossed the border from Hungary into Austria last weekend, the majority of whom were seeking refuge from conflicts in Syria and Iraq. We had to see for ourselves.
My husband, Dave, and I stopped by the main train station in Vienna on Saturday and it was remarkable to see the overwhelming immediate response with food, clothing, and basic needs. Everyday Austrians unleashed the power of social media to coordinate the efforts alongside Catholic and religious charities. It was beautiful to see people's generosity. We believe that loving the foreigner is a key to Austrians' rediscovering their faith.
There have been nearly as many asylum applications to date this year in Austria as there was in all of 2014. The vast majority of those arriving last weekend were passing through Austria to get to their desired destination, Germany, who has a more generous asylum-granting stance for Syrians.
Global Partners Team Austria's current focus is learning language and developing relationships with immigrants. We are seeking to engage in long-term, highly relational ministry with the outcome of seeing a multiplication of disciples. Our partnering local church ministers to refugees by providing German courses, housing assistance, legal support, friendship, and the gospel. Our team is working closely with our church's refugee ministry as well as developing partnerships with other local ministries.
What can you do?
- Pray for a workable solution.
- Pray that Austria and the European Union would develop a sustainable and compassionate solution for the migrant crisis.
- Provide for material needs, as the Lord leads you.
- In addition to ongoing support for our missionary team, we are also looking for one-time donations to help with practical assistance for immigrants.
- Welcome the immigrants in your community.
- You have the same opportunity to act neighborly. Develop relationships with immigrants in your community.