With thousands of new refugees flooding into Europe every single day and countries like Germany expecting to grant asylum to 800,000 refugees within the next year, the Church needs to step up both to show the love of God through acts of practical service as well share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them. I believe that this refugee crisis is a move of our sovereign Lord’s hand to bring many from the 10th largest unengaged/unreached people group in the world (see the side column on the 2nd page of this article) into contact with the His Church in Europe.
Mobile ministry can enable believers in Europe who don’t speak Arabic the opportunity both to share the gospel in the midst of personal interactions as well as a way to give refugees a copy of the Good News they can keep with them on the one device that the refugees have and are using to guide them in their journey.
The Mobile Ministry Forum is working to provide Gospel materials to these refugees by partnering with several ministries in the Middle East and Europe but our abilities are limited and the need is overwhelming. In the interest of spreading the knowledge and effort, here are some options that you could consider in reaching this harvest field that God is bringing to the Church in Europe:
1) No Cost
If you download a copy of Your Phone – God’s Glory you will find ways that you can set up your smartphone so that you can share language-appropriate Bible verses, audio and video clips from the JESUS Film and Global Recording Networks (GRN) in one-on-one interactions with refugees. It also shares how you can help those who have smartphones themselves get copies of those resources on their own phones (they would need internet access to download the apps). Additionally, there is information on how you can download the GRN audio and video files and either Bluetooth individual files to the phone of the person you are interacting with OR put a bunch of clips/recordings onto microSD memory cards to distribute.
2) Low Cost
You could reach 11 families with approximately $150* by purchasing 11 microSD cards that are pre-loaded with audio Bibles and the JESUS Film in the language of your choosing (Arabic would be the most useful followed by Afghan dialects such as Pashtu or Dari). Renew Outreach offers the service with blank 4GB microSD cards running $6.25 apiece (minimum order is 10) and there an additional charge of $2.25 per card for each media tool included on the microSD card (i.e. $2.25 extra per card for just the JESUS Film, $4.50 per card for the JESUS Film AND the Faith Comes by Hearing Audio Bible, etc.).
For $225 (and a lot more time and labor) you could get gospel materials out to 100 families*. You can purchase 100 microSD cards for that price at Amazon or eBay and then download an Arabic audio Bible here as well as the Prophets’ Stories videos and Lives of the Prophets videos (choose the 3GP format for downloading the videos as they play on more types of phones than MP4). Once you have the all the files on your computer you can begin copying them onto the microSD cards one card at a time using the USB adapter that comes included with the order. My recommendation would be to have this video (animated creation to Christ overview) out on its own at the top level of the microSD card and then have all the other items each under their own folder (Bible, Prophets Stories, Lives of the Prophets).
3) Medium Cost
You could reach 100 plus families for about $650* by purchasing a Renew LightStream device pre-loaded with Bibles (audio and text), the JESUS Film, and a number of other outreach audio/visual resources in the language of your choosing (about $420 including shipping in the U.S. for the AC powered model, add $180 for the battery powered model) along with 100 blank microSD cards (about $230 via eBay or Amazon). Once you have those materials in hand you would then load the outreach materials onto the blank microSD cards using the LightStream’s four duplicator ports. If further funds were available you could purchase lots of 100 microSD memory cards for approximately $230 apiece. Imagine being able to get the Gospel into the hands (and onto the phones) of 1,000 refugees for only $2,700 and some hours of loading those cards four-at-a-time. The LightStream device also offers some other exciting capabilities that could be used in outreach including Bluetooth broadcasting of media to nearby devices and the provision of a WiFi hotspot which allows connected devices to download any media available on the Lightstream.
Of course having the materials isn’t the same as getting them to the refugees so you should either be able to do that “yourself” (i.e. you live in the area, can travel there, or can get your church or ministry to send a group there) or have contacts in the Middle East or Europe who are either already reaching out to the refugees or would be interested in doing that if they could be equipped to do so.
If you have any questions or other ideas that people should know of for reaching out to these refugees and offering them the hope of the Gospel do write in via the comment section below.
* Admittedly these costs do not account for the cost of mailing/transporting the materials to Europe/the Middle East but microSD cards are incredibly small and lightweight so even that should not be too burdensome