The Mobile Ministry Forum hosted this 50 minute webinar on May 25, 2016. The focus was on ways that mobile/digital ministry can assist in responding to the great needs of refugees around the world. This is a way for churches, ministries, and individuals to extend God’s love using media and mobile technology. 53 people participated in the live webinar. Scroll down for the key ideas, recorded webinar, slides and notes from the live chat.
Who are the Refugees and Where are they Coming From?
In the EU, half of all refugees are from either Syria or Afghanistan.
Most refugees are not currently in the place they would like to be. Most of them are caught somewhere between where they’ve come from and where they are going. They are trying to find a better, safer life for their children. (Migration Response Situation Report)
The country that has accepted the highest number of refugees is Sweden followed by Germany and Hungary. This places a huge burden on the different countries’ infrastructure and economy. Greece has over 50,000 refugees stuck in limbo living there. People have come there via boat and then other countries have closed their borders, trapping many refugees. What a great opportunity to minister to the refugees, and Greece, by offering resources.
One-fifth of Lebanon’s population is made up of refugees with the country of Jordan a distant second. Over-all the estimate is that there are around 6 million Syrian refugees being hosted in Middle Eastern countries.
Mobile phones and power banks are considered more vital than food by the refugees themselves. The first thing many of them do upon arrival to a host country is to pull out their cell phones to check in with family, take photos of maps, and check in on Facebook to see what the current safe route is.
The Church Needs to be Called to
- Biblical Viewpoint of the Refugee Crisis: David Platt spoke at the GC2 (Great Commission–Great Commandment) Conference reminding people of Acts 17 and God’s heart for the world. Is ISIS in control or is God? In 2010 Northern Syrians were on a list of top 30 unengaged people groups and now those same people are landing on churches’ doorsteps.
- Shape and Share the Story of Refugees: We will live out the story that we believe. Who will tell the stories that show the blessings church members experience and relationships that are formed as they reach out to refugees in their community?
- Education: How can the church reach out to refugees and serve them in meaningful and biblical ways?
Love Europe App
Lisa from Jesus.net shared this app that’s being expanded to assist refugees in the EU. It’s meant to help refugees find what they need most. The features include: a bilingual interface, country information, points of interest, with GPS points that they can use without internet, language help with useful words and phrases, SOS for help. Eventually there will be a section for media and events that will include videos, church and neighborhood events, and workshops, a link to the Jesus film and videos explaining easter and christmas, website for volunteers on how to get involved. You can download it from the iTunes store or Google Play.
Wifi Content Box: This is geared for missionaries and local Christians to make content available when wifi isn’t reliable or available or is insecure. Apps like the Love Europe app, Bible apps, the Jesus Film, and other gospel content can be copied to phones without the person sacrificing data minutes. Version 2.o will have a place for the refugee to leave their contact info so that they can have followup.
Charging Stations: they have developed a mobile station that can charge up to 10 phones at a time and are working on a solar version of the charging station to be available soon.
Email contact for this project: firstname.lastname@example.org
Light Stream Wifi and Bluetooth Distribution Box: Similar to Cru’s version but more robust. It can connect to more people at once and includes a Bible apps in peoples’ heart languages.
Hope Rope: A charging station that runs off a car battery and can recharge 64 cell phones at a time.
Media Resource List
Here is a compiled media resource list.
Resources Mentioned in the Live Chat
Dove Stream units with indigenous gospel films.
Bible based animations (Children and Youth Resources)
Al Hayat (they have children’s media content in Arabic)
Kolo World App (multi-lingual content)
OneHope (Children and Youth Resources), email contact: email@example.com
talmazaonline.com (Online Church for Arabic speakers).
Prophet Stories (Audio dramas in Arabic)
European Evangelical Alliance’s listing of media outreach resources (feel free to add comments)
Linking Global Voices (Network mapping)
Signal (Secure messaging app)