Resettlement of our Refugee Brethren ~ The Purpose of my Appeals
The purpose of my appeals is to inform as many as possible in the brotherhood that there are brethren residing in refugee camps, and alerting them to the undesirable conditions under which they live. I was quite shocked when I learned this information a few years ago after reading an appeal from one brother to be resettled away from that environment. Upon enquiry I then understood that CBM was involved with them, and was relieved that they were not entirely on their own. CBM personnel were too busy to provide information, and I did not feel comfortable to turn away, doing nothing, with the knowledge of this distressing situation. I also felt that had any of my relatives been living there, I would have had to do my part too, to get them out. Hence my appeals.
My suggestion then and still is, that we should get together to:
• Initiate an ongoing resettlement program specifically geared towards moving our brethren out of these camps to stable regions in their own country, ideally close to established ecclesias.
Because of the magnitude of this undertaking, and the fact that we are all brothers and sisters, I do feel that we, who are willing, should all join in the implementation of this program, and it should not be left to one group.
Most importantly, this is a practical way of applying the second greatest commandment – “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”, hence we can therefore approach this with the confidence that our Heavenly Father gave His only Son also for them as His children, and will therefore bless and empower our efforts, if we involve Him, beginning and carrying out this matter in prayer. As shown in numerous scriptural examples, He will take over this project, perfect it and bring it to the desirable conclusion. Other suggestions put forward, must involve, above anything else, getting our brethren out of those camps. The reason for this priority is that generally, our brethren are entirely dependent on various organizations for their upkeep in the kind of living conditions that we would find quite unbearable, with no control over their lives, because they are not permitted to work to maintain themselves. There are families with children in this horrendous situation, (babies in dire conditions in refugee camps) elderly brothers and sisters who would find this physically taxing, younger sisters and brothers exposed to the kinds of abuse that exist in these environments.
I was told by a brother, a father of a refugee family, that the stress of living under these conditions, and at times the fear of random outburst of violence that occur in the very camps, disintegration of family life resulting from the desperation of need, were considered the cause of the early deaths of many unable to cope, and he told me he felt that had he and his family not been rescued from their condition at that time, he did not think he would have survived for as long as two more years. He was then in his early forties. His advice is as follows - “I think the best way to help brethren should be to work out a durable solution so that they can resettle somewhere and work for their living. My case is a good illustration; like a troubled sea, I went from country to country without rest, but now I am settled and my children can go to school and I can serve my Lord.” Providentially this family was resettled in what is considered an undeveloped country and by working diligently at helping themselves, and assisted by the ecclesias around them, has done remarkably well in their new life.
The following are thoughts and fears recently expressed by some of our brethren in the camps: “As we look around at our present situation, generally our:
- Thoughts are that we pray to be helped from the undesirable conditions of the camp to a place away from this environment.
- Concerns are how will we fare to start life afresh with our families.
- Anxieties are that we need to be resettled in stable areas where there are jobs opportunities to work in order to meet the family provisions.
- Fears are that we do not know how long we will get over with this distressing refugee life? Also some of us would not like to return back to the areas they lived in before. In our present situation, we see that the future for us and our families is completely dark. There is not any prospect, and it is difficult for us to handle this because we are extremely poor - we do not how and with what to start?”
This revelation is heart rending. I think there are capable individuals in our brotherhood worldwide who may be able to spearhead the undertaking of resettlement, using their expertise and available tools to great advantage if approached prayerfully with the blessing and power of our Heavenly Father.
Sis Esther Worrell (Canada)