One of the global phenomena in the 21st century is the unprecedented scale of the movement of people all over the world. Forced migration is one of the biggest contributing factors of people movement in in this century. Millions of people from the different parts of the world have been uprooted from their homes and forced out of their country because of persecution and war. The only viable option for them for survival and safety is to become refugees to their neighboring countries.
As they flee to their neighboring countries, they face with overwhelming challenges. Many of the host countries are ill-prepared or unequipped to cope with their overwhelming needs. Although their host countries are doing everything they can to help them, they have limited amount of resources. Some refugee camps can only provide a place for them to build temporary shelters, such as shacks or tents. The UNHCR has to provide water and food rations to the refugee community.
Some of the refugees will eventually be resettled to a third country for international protection program of UNHCR. Majority of the people who have been resettled in the United States have been in the camp for at least five to fifteen years. They come from the different parts of the world, such as Bhutan, Burma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cuba, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, and several countries.
The overarching mission of God is to fulfill His Great Commission on this earth. As the Lord Jesus Christ commissioned His church to make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:18-21) and empowered them with His Spirit to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8), the church has the obligation to reach out to all the peoples of the world. They have to go out to the world as Ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) to represent His love and reconciliation to humanity.
Despite the destructive origins of forced migration, God is using it to accomplish His purpose in this world. Through force migration, many people, who live in countries that are very difficult to reach out to with the gospel of Jesus Christ, are now able to hear the gospel and experience the love of Christ freely. In God’s sovereignty, it is not a coincidence that many refugees are resettling in the United States. God is bringing the world to where His church is, so that He can give them the opportunity to participate in what He is doing in the world today. God wants to use His church to be His channel of His love and blessing.
The current flow of world mission has been changing for the last centuries. In the past, it is common to send missionaries to the different parts of the world to fulfill the Great Commission. Missionaries have to travel thousands of miles to reach the destination of the people that they want to minister to. However, the trend of world mission today is changing due to force and willful migration that is happening all throughout the world. Today, it is possible to travel fifteen to thirty minutes to minister cross-culturally.
In a political side of view, force migration has been a hot bed of discussion, because force migration can become a burden to the government and the society. The government has to find resources to provide for the needs of the refugee community and the society has to be willing to cope with the challenges that refugee resettlement brings. In addition, there is always a concern for national security because of terrorist threat. However, if we are looking at it in God’s point of view, we know that God brought refugees in our land to give us the wonderful opportunity to be a part of fulfilling His Great Commission on the earth. The church of God ought not to forget that our final home is heaven while we are on this earth, God has given us the obligation to make disciples to all the nations.