According to the UN, there are 60 million refugees in the world right now – more than ever since WWII – and last year there were 8 million new refugees – more than ever recorded in a single year. Most of these refugees are either Muslim or African (or both).
We’ve seen so many pictures and heard so many statistics that it is becoming impossible to imagine how each number can represent a person – a real human, with a story, an individual who is loved by God and has been victimized by war and terror.
What can I do?
The numbers are so large that it feels overwhelming. The situation is so far away that it feels dis-connected from our everyday North American lives. But ethicist Father David Hollenbeck reminds us that what we do matters:
If you’re a good swimmer, you’ve got an obligation to jump in and help that kid being who’s in danger of drowning… we have a moral obligation.
Fr. Hollenbeck points out that faith-based organizations are doing the most and best work on the ground around the world. You and I might not be the lifeguards for these refugees – but we can help to support those who are.
LIRS was started in 1939 by Lutheran congregations who wanted to help during the European war (2 years before the US entered WWII). By 1945, one out of every four refugees in the world was Lutheran. Since then, LIRS has helped more refugees settle in the US than any other non-profit. Visit here: http://lirs.org/ to learn more, to volunteer, or to donate. Lutherans are helping Refugees on 6 continents – and you can be a part of that amazing work, too.