Sharing and communicating: Fate of refugees moves many hearts

The fate of the many refugees who are currently travelling in Europe has moved the hearts of New Apostolic Christians around the world. This is demonstrated by the reactions in social networks. But it is not just talk and discussion: concrete help is also being organized.

It is one of the most read articles since the New Apostolic news portal nac.today began reporting at the start of 2015. The report "People without a home — Streams of refugees in Europe“ described the situation of people fleeing to Europe by the hundreds of thousands, primarily from Eastern Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East, and informed readers about the responses from the congregations and Church leadership.

Helping along in my own personal surroundings with the means available to me

The echo in social networks such as "Facebook" or the Church's own "nacworld.net" has been unusually strong. There have been a great number of comments, likes, and dislikes, and a great deal of information has also been passed along and assessed. "I am so happy that we as a Church are reacting and helping," writes one brother in faith from the USA. "This clearly demonstrates sympathy and love in the mind of Christ," opines a South African.

For many Church members in Germany, which is one of the preferred destinations for refugees, this is actually self-evident: "In the face of such need, it is important to set an example as Christians," writes a brother from North Rhine-Westphalia. "As a Christian it is even my duty to help along in my personal surroundings with the means available to me," adds a sister from Bavaria.

No assistance is in vain

But there are also some voices of concern: people who are anxious about the changes that accepting hundreds of thousands of refugees might bring. "God has been gracious to us, so let us also be gracious," is the response. Or: "Our parents and grandparents were also given help in their time of need." But most of all, there are references to the commandment to love one's neighbour.

"The fate of the refugees moves me deeply. Although I pray for them and give my donations, it still seems to be far too little," say many, who often use the expression "It's like a drop in the bucket". The answer? "I do not believe that any little drop is in vain."

"What can we do to alleviate the need of these people?"asks a brother from Southern Germany, before going on to answer his own question: "First and foremost, we should show them respect and give them back the dignity they have lost as they fled their homelands." And one sister from Western Germany adds, "Let us simply approach them. It already helps to give them a smile!"

Organized local support

But some very specific and concrete help is also being organized over the social networks. For example, the aid agency "NAK-karitativ" managed to drum up over 60 children's wagons for families in the Friedland refugee camp within only a few days. "That went very quickly," commented board member Jörg Leske on Facebook. "A big thank-you to all the donors!"

Beyond that, the aid agency is providing information on other ways to help those in need. For example, NAK-karitativ is supporting a transit centre in Serbia on the border of Hungary by way of a donation drive. There the organization "Help – Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe e.V." is supporting an initiative of politicians and other prominent individuals from Germany to provide some 700 refugees with foodstuffs and toiletries.

Purely out of love for one's neighbour

The most recent divine service conducted by Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider has also met with great resonance on social networks. In Rottweil / Southern Germany he made reference to the situation of the refugees on 6 September 2015, and called upon believers "to help alleviate the need of our neighbour, to share what we have with our neighbour."

"I know that a great deal has already been done, both within and outside of our Church," he said in praise of these efforts. "This is something that could happen a bit more often, a bit more." There is no need to establish a special institution for this. "There are enough people all around us who have already organized themselves for this purpose. We can simply help them."

But by no means does the Chief Apostle want this to be understood as a "marketing drive" for the Church: "This is to happen purely out of love for our neighbour, because we are Christians."

A video summary of the Chief Apostle's divine service in Rottweil will be published in the coming days on nac.today.


Photo: Michaela Rehle / Reuters

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Andreas Rother
9.09.2015
Aid agencies, Social commitment