Refugees Live in Your Community — How Can You Introduce Them to Christ?

It’s 1985, and Doug Lucas is preparing to teach at a Bible college. He comes across a statistic in the little textbook that he uses for his class: 1 million people in the world are refugees. 1 million people in the world are on the run. “I wept in my heart,” he says, and decided that “I was no longer going to be a part of the group that said, ‘Somebody ought to do something about this.’ I was now going to say, ‘This is my problem, too.’” 

38 years later, 100 million people have been displaced worldwide “as a result of persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations,” according to UNHCR. “If you were to tell me in 1985 that that was going to happen,” Doug says, “I would have thought that you were on some kind of drug or something.” 

“All right,” you may say, “so that’s a lot of people. But what does it have to do with me?” If you consider yourself a Christian, it has an awful lot to do with you. When Jesus saw “harassed and helpless” people in Scripture, “he had compassion on them” (Matt. 9:36). He told his disciples, as Doug paraphrases, “’We’d better ask the Father, the Lord of the harvest, to send workers to help with this harvest field situation. This is unthinkable.’ And that was back in his day, looking at the villagers in one part of the country. How much more so would Jesus look at these situations today?”

No matter where you live, there are probably refugees living nearby, drawn by jobs and the opportunity “to make a difference in their lives and in the lives of people they love.” Whether they are on the run due to religious persecution, ethnic cleansing, or anything else, whether they work in Louisville, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Chicago, or “Bloomington Normal, Illinois,” refugees and immigrants need community, and they need Jesus. 

Zúme is a “perfect candidate” to use in these scenarios for a number of reasons. It most likely is available either in a refugee’s language or a national language that they know. It provides a framework “that invites people to walk through a series of conversations that can have a huge impact on their lives, without having to force them into walking into a church house where they might be stereotyped. You can do a Zúme study in somebody’s backyard.” The training guide and other resources can now be downloaded and used in places without Wi-Fi access, and the resources are free “to anybody who wants to use it, because we shouldn’t block people from knowing the gospel merely because they don’t have any discretionary income.” 

“Zúme is for everyone,” as Doug reminds us. “I would highly recommend it for anybody working with refugees and immigrants from anywhere.” Whether you live in the U.S. or Europe or any other place where people seek refuge, God has brought many nations into your circle and your community. Take the opportunity to reach out, and don’t let the newness intimidate you. Zúme has the tools you need to facilitate positive and life-changing conversations and lead people to the saving work of Christ through the Spirit. 

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