Reaching Out To Refugees - The Message
17 Jun 2022

Reaching Out To Refugees

We’ve all been shocked by what’s happening in Ukraine. As the conflict began, Message Germany knew they couldn’t stand by and do nothing so they got stuck straight into mission helping Ukrainian families.

For over four years, Message Germany have been sharing the good news of Jesus with young people and communities across their nation, and seeing lives transformed. As they reach out to refugees they’re taking mission to the next level, and they’re seeing God move in amazing ways. We caught up with Sven Wenzel, our Message Germany leader, to hear more about what’s been happening and how we can be praying.

Tell us how you got involved in supporting families, Sven.

Sven: As the conflict began, our hearts – I’m sure like yours – broke for what was happening and the millions of people being forced to flee for their lives, so we began praying about what we could do to help, and quickly God started opening doors.

One morning, I got a call from a church leader we’ve worked with in the Czech Republic who told me that every day they had buses filled with Ukrainian refugees arriving in their town and they were running out of homes for them, but they didn’t want to turn anyone away. So, he asked if Message Germany could help. Immediately we knew we had to say ‘yes’. A few days later, the first bus of families arrived, and we’ve been stepping out showing Jesus’ love however we can.

What has this looked like and how have you made it happen?

Sven: Prayer! That’s at the root of everything. We’re relying on God to equip us in this new area of mission he’s called us into, and his provision has been miraculous.

The most immediate need was to find homes for the refugees who were arriving, and God had already been preparing the way. A year ago, myself and the Message Germany team connected with a couple who had felt called to leave their jobs and buy an old youth hostel near our base in Wolkenstein so that it could be a place of peace for people in need that offered food and accommodation.

Faithfully, they spent a year renovating each of the 80 bedrooms and stocking it up with food. So my first call was to Thomas and Yvonne and they immediately flung their doors open, meaning we’ve already been able to offer homes to 130 Ukrainian families!

God has also been providing us with amazing servant-hearted people like Lea, Ella and Freddy, three young women who heard about what we were doing and wanted to be part of it. Each week, they’re giving up their time to run kids’ clubs, complete registration paperwork and put on creative mission workshops. As they do this, they’re getting to tell people about Jesus. Just the other day Lea said to me, ‘Every day we feel weak and overwhelmed but can see how God is supporting us.’

What has mission looked like?

Sven: We wouldn’t be The Message without making it a priority to share Jesus with the Ukrainian young people so our team are playing football with them, taking them to the youth group our Eden Chemnitz team run, and have even put on a mission week with Amongst Wolves and some Academy students.

Amongst Wolves spent time hanging out with the young people, chatting to them and sharing the gospel, before putting on an acoustic gig in the youth hostel as well as a gig in Chemnitz that 200 young people, including those from Ukraine, came to. And as we’re sharing about how much Jesus loves them, we’re seeing many discover what it means to have a personal relationship with God for the first time.

One 16-year-old lad we’ve got to know is Maxim. On one of his first days in the youth hostel he found me and offered to help translate. Since then, he’s spent almost every day helping me communicate – even translating my gospel talks! Although he’s gone to church in the past, Maxim wouldn’t call himself a Christian so I was blown away when he came up to me and said, ‘Wow, I feel like God’s changed my whole picture of him. He’s alive and with me, this is so different from the God I heard about at home.’ He’s now listening to Amongst Wolves music on repeat and is excitedly asking loads of questions about Jesus!

How can we be praying for you and the team?

Sven: Firstly, pray for peace and that this horrendous conflict ends. We know God has the power to do this.

Please pray we’d find more volunteers and translators to help us as we step out, and that God will break through into the lives of the Ukrainian families we’re working with.

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Read more about our international mission at message.org.uk/category/international-mission