By Nancy G. Daniel
MSU College of Theology visited many refugees in Germany this July. Our entire team never laughed so hard or so much. Laughter was so powerful and brought such unity. Every one of the team members made rich and deep relationships with our new German and Arab friends.
MSU College of Theology’s Master class meets online live. Our students are all over the world. One of our younger students, Ben, from Germany began to share his heart for the work he and his family are currently doing with refugees in Germany. The glory of God was all over him as he talked that evening. Liz, another student in the class, burst out, “…we need to come and help”.
Honestly, if she were silent even the rocks would have cried out that night. I asked MorningStar/CM Missions director, Jorge Parrott if we could take a team to Germany and he felt the Lord would have us go.
Our team visited Ben during July. He and his incredible family are caring for many refugees as an act of pure love. They are living Gospels to those who survived the treacherous journey to Germany from their respective countries. The love in action that we saw was powerful to watch.
In the little German town we visited there were several buildings or dormitories in which refugees live. Germany is doing a great job of acclimating these young men by giving them a room, a stipend for food and clothing, language classes and then help them to get jobs. There are many papers to fill out and rules to follow but the family we visited help them with the process.
As we visited these smoke filled dormitory rooms of refugees, primarily young men, they met us with great hospitality. No matter the national differences we received tea or coffee and anything they could offer to eat. The rooms were small and up to six men lived in them but all kept their places neat and organized. With all these young men crammed into a small space, we never saw them fight with each other. This was a surprise to see as we encountered racism on every level.
BACKGROUND OF REFUGEES
The refugees came from a mass exodus of some of the most intelligent, talented and resilient young people that made their way through the gauntlet of danger and managed to survive and relocate all over Europe. It seemed to me many came from families of means.
Some were shot at. Some had no food and water for days. Everyone we talked to had to pay traffickers. The route was the same for many. They went through Greece by way of a small boat where they crammed 35-50 people each paying at least $1000 a piece just for the boat or raft ride. They had to squat without moving, shoulder to shoulder, for up to 3 hours. Some boats did not make it. Several of the refugees told us that the Red Cross was very helpful along the journey. They were grateful to see a friendly face with food. Some left their backpacks along the way as it was too much to carry.
The Arab world such as United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and so on will not help their own. In all probably, Muslims’ want to push Islam into the world for takeover as well as to repopulate it, but we saw that these precious young want a chance at life and are finding freedom to think and to explore relationships with others that are from different lands. Many, not all, of these very intelligent and resilient young men do not want war, but are hoping for a future for themselves and their families.
We made many new Arab friends. One young man went with us on every trip and helped to interpret. He speaks Arabic, German and English. He was very endearing to our entire team. He has an amazing story that we want to share with you in a different article.
One evening we were sitting in a small room on a sofa with several new Arabic friends in a circle around us. They shared their stories with us. One young man was in the Iraqi military. American fire blew up his hummer and he was wounded and does not have full use of his arm. We were told that when Bin Laden was killed the regime change gave them a new flag and made him no longer relevant to his government. The German government is not giving full perks to Iraqi people as they are to the Syrians. So this young man finds himself without a country.
The young man was very sad. I pulled out crayons and paper. We all began to doodle and talk. The young man began to draw Fran, one of our team members. He did an amazing job. Fran asked if we could pray for him and lay hands on him and he said yes. Many of these young Muslims were familiar with healing prayer as one of them ran in and said a British guy came and prayed for him and he continued to experience his healing.
We prayed. We blessed. We loved.
This young man had more range with his arm than before and it was noticeable that his countenance changed while we were there.
Trust is slow going but it is our hope that it continues to build. Many nations are under one roof. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria and Algeria were all represented. There is racism between them. As we sat with the nations represented in one room, you could see expressions of both judgment and understanding on their faces as they shared their stories with us.
I too struggled with trust. Real discernment is crucial in meeting with the refugees. You could tell that some were tolerating us to get what they needed. The trauma of their experience was noticeable in our conversations. This survival experience brought many of them together and gives them a base for relationship.
LEADERSHIP OF LOVE
In our conversations with our host Ben, talked a lot about a new breed of leadership in Christianity. This is new to us but actually looks like real Christianity to me. Ben said he felt in part, there is a new purity coming in the church.
I believe that we saw and experienced it while in Germany watching Ben and his pastor friend Daniel.
Love compels these men to lead. Love is drawing the people to them. It is a magnet. This leadership was not the “follow me, I can show you what to do” it is the type of leadership that says “ how can I help you as well as because I love you I want to give you what I have”. These young men did not have a need to be seen as a head of anything or to receive worship from their followers. What they modeled was the need to give, anything and everything because they love.
They are leading with and in purity. They are developing relationships and being Christ to their flock. This new breed does not look for earthly fame or fortune but they follow the Lamb and point others to the Lamb. They meet the people where they are in the natural and spiritual, seeing that those God gave them to lead are growing in maturity and faith. They proclaim him with their very lives along with teaching, instructions and in wisdom, Colossians 1:28. It is easy to see the fingerprints of God in their lives.
Church happens when they are gathered together, which is daily, as they share their physical and spiritual bread with those who want to eat. Everyone brings something in his or her heart to share. It felt more about responding to others. This purity is powerful. Going to the people is also powerful.
I am personally studying many leadership styles. As we were flying to and from Germany I was reading the book the “Go-Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann and the Go-Giver Leader” by John David Mann. They talk about giving along with influencing many.
I believe that we can influence many through love. If we love a particular people group and desire their best it is like a magnet. It does not push people it draws them as people are wired for love. The best gift you can give yourself and others is love. Real love lays down one’s life and puts the needs of others first. This type of love is unusual today, yet we experienced it first hand.
I want to challenge you as you read this to think about the people or people group you feel called to love? Why are you waiting? Ask the Lord what steps you can take today to be Christ to those around you.