The gospel as EU meeting-point

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https://www.flickr.com/photos/agrinberg/22969141940/sizes/l

While the latest attacks took place in Belgium, I was in the Netherlands at an Interserve consultation on the migrant situation. The quotable quote came from a refugee of 22 years standing – now married and with a Ph.D who said: ‘It’s not the ground we serve with the gospel but people’. This puts mission agencies on the spot. Will they stick with their colonial geographic focus or follow the peoples, wherever in the world they are. 

 Specialist input came from Samuel Lee (http://www.samlee.org/iSam/Home/Home.html) who leads a “migrant church”; and also Jan-Peter Moritz, director of the “Gave Foundation” –  a Dutch Christian charity. The letters used in Dutch to spell the name “Gave” stand for “fled”, “seen” and “loved”; which is just what they passionately believe i.e. the all seeing God both sees the vulnerable and walks with them (Gen.16:13).

These two men represent a whole constituency of Dutch Christians who believe and insist that “migrants are a blessing” on a number of practical levels; but not least because many are from Christian backgrounds or have changed allegiance to Christ and forced to flee as a result. Such people are like a “spiritual injection of life” to ailing churches in the host nations of the EU they are arriving in.https://www.flickr.com/photos/brqnetwork/5510259053/sizes/o/

The belief that migrants are actually a “blessing” is profoundly biblical – if almost entirely counter-cultural. It challenges the popular public perception that the exact opposite is the case and migrant refugees are only “takers”.

The Gave charity offers a number of highly popular workshops, which are creating a waiting list for people to attend. Topics on offer include issues such as – the effects of trauma; Islam and Muslim cultures; working with women; working with children; working with teenagers.

Here are some good news headlines of what’s happening in just one of the EU member states – the Netherlands:

The bottom line is that among some Dutch Christians, the gospel is proving to be a good “central-point” of reference – both for people of the “host-culture” as well as the people of the incoming cultures; both absorb from the other and enrich the other.

If this is the case in the Netherlands, then the gospel is indeed the hope for all cultures across Europe and the lands from which they are setting out on the, so called, ‘refugee highway’.

 

2 Comments

  1. Ken Clezy

    Good to hear, Arco. Blessings on you all. Sorry I didn’t make it to Holland last year – you can’t go everywhere. Judy and Basheer are doing well.

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