30 Days of Prayer: The Church as a Family of Refugees

The war in Syria triggered a massive wave of refugees, who are mainly accommodated in surrounding countries. Prior to this, in 2014, conflict flared up in Iraq, also creating hundreds of thousands of new refugees. Many of these refugees have fled to Lebanon, where Lebanese churches have dedicated themselves to caring for them—changing themselves in the process.

One church in Lebanon has had 300 Syrian refugees and 300 Iraqi refugees join their 200 Lebanese members in recent years. Entire refugee families and those who have lost all or part of their family have found a new home in this church. They are being helped on different levels. Food vouchers and medicine make physical survival possible in their difficult situations. Counseling and small groups help refugees with processing their trauma. Church services and training provide spiritual growth for those who follow Jesus already or are thinking about it.

Photo: Masser on Flickr

Last year, this church focused on the idea of “family”. Fleeing for their lives and losing homes and jobs has changed family dynamics drastically for many refugees. Marriage courses and retreats have proven helpful in addressing the impact of this on married couples. The importance of family for the individual, the church and society has been emphasized and further deepened in church services and small groups. Their goal was to develop healthy families in which people can thrive, and that are a witness and blessing to those around them.

Many of the refugees have found spiritual siblings in the local churches of Lebanon, and this is helping them to adapt to the changes forced upon them and to have the motivation to move forward in their new lives.

• For the many refugees who are still in difficult and often hopeless situations, with desperate physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
• For the featured church and others like it that are serving and welcoming refugees—that their efforts will multiply and be blessed.
• For refugees in Lebanon who are on the long road to rebuilding their lives, for a future filled with hope for their families.

This post is adapted from the 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World website

About Scott Gustafson

Scott Gustafson has extensive experience in ministry and business in the Middle East, having lived or worked in the region for 20 years. He is a PhD candidate at Vrije Universiteit working with the Extreme Beliefs Project. He is a guest lecturer and is also the Managing Partner of Purpose Global Strategies, an International Business and non-profit consulting firm. He advises large funding agencies as well as indigenous businesses and ministries in Sudan, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. He has an MA in Intercultural Communication from Moody Graduate School, and a BA in Nursing and Biology from Western Michigan University. Scott and his wife have 2 children and they live in Grand Rapids, MI. Follow his Substack.