Christmas and New Year are long over and we have had enough of the cold and grey, which seems to sum up the weather at the minute. We begin to dream of sunshine, blue skies and travelling somewhere different to escape our lives for a week or two.
Holidays involve journeys and there is the promise of something exciting at the other end. Whether that involves a car or a plane or a boat – the promise of the destination is what makes the journey fun and exciting.
However, many people make journeys and not because they are going on holiday, or because they simply want to escape their lives for a week or two. There are many people who make long and difficult journeys not knowing what lies at the other end, but simply knowing that they need to leave home and go to somewhere new so their lives and their families will be safer.
These people are not holidaymakers; they are refugees.
This year’s Youth and Children’s Project is about refugees and how God is calling us to make a difference in their lives as they go on their journey. We want those people who have had to flee their homes to have the opportunity to make their journey one that ends in promise and not despair.
The Project is supporting the work of Open Doors and the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon, as they are involved in the distribution of Bibles and in the setting up of schools in the refugee camps in Lebanon. ‘Journeys of Promise’ is to help children and young people in PCI understand more about the plight of refugees and to think about how we can help and support them.
The Bible is full of commands for us to help the poor, to do what we can to help those who need it and to love our neighbours. Jesus teaches us that our neighbours are not simply the people who live beside us. They are anyone around us, whether they are the same as us or different, whether they think and believe the same as us or not.
The Bible tells us in Leviticus 19 to “Treat the foreigner as you would a local … love him like one of your own.” Let us not keep our faith hidden but live radically different lives and show God’s love in practical ways to those who have had to give up so much to be safe.
Let us help refugees to encounter Journeys of Promise.
Ruth Bromley is PCI’s Children’s Development Officer. You can find out more about the Youth and Children’s project ‘Journeys of Promise’ here.