Responding to Migrants with Love

Migrant tent city

Migrant tent city

WGM missionaries Mark and Eszti Landerholm are involved in discipleship and orphan ministries in Hungary. However, during the past several weeks, their energy and compassion has been focused on migrants passing through Europe. Read the post below, written by Mark and Eszti specifically for MissionsCentral, to learn how they are partnering with other Christians in spreading God’s love to men, women, children, police officers, and soldiers.

“It was just a few weeks ago that our ‘home’ was the center of all the news cycles—‘Hungary and the Migrant Crisis’ filled the headlines. These headlines have since disappeared, but the migrant crisis remains. Not since the end of World War II has this number of migrants been seen, and these migrants are largely coming from some areas of the globe least reached with the gospel of Jesus. In fact, greater numbers of migrants are crossing through Hungary today than at the height of the news coverage. This being the case, it is our conviction that the European Church’s response to this crisis will either lead to revival or to the Church falling into even greater irrelevance here in Europe.

“It gives us joy to report that there are large segments of the Church here in Hungary and other parts of Europe responding in love, responding as we believe Christ would have us. It is exciting to see the Church of Jesus Christ acting together as one, not as Baptists and Nazarenes and Methodists and Charismatics, but as the one, united body of Jesus Christ. We have had the pleasure of being a part of that response and even ones helping to coordinate it.

Migrant baby washing station

Migrant baby washing station

“Seemingly no one was prepared for this number of people to flood the borders of Europe—not even the governments. That being the case, the governments’ responses to the migrants are ever changing, which changes the way we as the Body of Christ can respond to the needs of these desperate people, many of whom are fleeing for their lives. At times the migrants have practically been in our back yard, while at others we have had to travel to other countries to meet their needs. We have set up baby washing stations; delivered food, clothing, jackets, hats, and other supplies; helped provide clean, safe areas for them to sleep; played games with the kids; and talked to the adults. No matter what we have done, what has been consistent in our response is that it has been done side-by-side with Hungarian Christians and the love of Christ has been forefront.

“We continue to be encouraged by the responses we receive. Mothers have broken down into tears of joy at being able to give their babies a bath after weeks without hot water. Young men who had been walking for days came alongside of us and helped clean up trash so they and others would have a clean place to sleep. People have said thank you in many languages. Additionally, they have been so desperate for some of the things we’ve been able to supply that they have learned the names of these items in Hungarian (a very difficult language). Kids walking in the cold rain barefooted have received shoes; babies sleeping in water puddles have been given warm, dry places to sleep; empty stomachs have been fed; and desperate people have felt loved.

Migrant thank-you note

Migrant thank-you note

“We have been able to talk with some about Jesus, and these have been some of our favorite conversations. Additionally, we have met Christians who are fleeing because ISIS is after them. Because of responding out of love and not fear to those in need, we have been able to share with Hungarian police officers and soldiers about the love of Christ that compels us. Currently, our interactions with migrants are very limited because of how the governments are moving them, but as their needs are being met, they know that Christians are the ones meeting those needs. We strongly believe that the Church’s love through meeting the migrants’ physical needs as they are entering Europe will open the door for them to be receptive to hearing the gospel when they settle.

“You can be a part of this outreach from where you are.

PRAY: Please pray for the migrants. Pray that as they flee they will have safety and their physical needs will be met. Pray also that as they go and experience the love of Christ’s Church it will open their hearts to the gospel and that there will be opportunities for them to hear and respond to it. We need your prayers as well. Pray that we will have wisdom in how to respond and that in any interactions we have, no matter how brief, that we will share the love of Christ.

GIVE: Finally, please consider giving financially towards helping the migrants. Each van load of supplies we take to be distributed to the migrants costs thousands of dollars, and as the cold of winter is approaching, the needs and costs are going to increase. Your giving can help feed and properly clothe these in such desperate need.

“Thank you for your obedience to Christ.”

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