Your tent / Our house
This summer, thousands of Christians will head to Christian festivals around the UK, whether it be New Wine, Focus, Soul Survivor, Davids Tent, Greenbelt, Youth 2000, New Day, One Day, Creation Fest....the list goes on!
For some of us, there's nothing we love more than a bit of camping. For others, there's nothing we're dreading more this summer than sleeping in a tent, portable loos, and mini gas cookers. As we approach this festival season, EP2030 is excited to have been invited by Focus to share about our vision*. As we've been preparing for this, we've been reminded of a striking comparison to millions of Christians around the world.
In the UK, we'll spend perhaps 4-5 days at a festival, sharing our lives together with another 1,000-14,000 Christians. But, whilst our tent is simply a holiday, for many of our brothers and sisters around the world, our tent is their home, our holiday is their life. Take Bidibidi Refugee Settlement in Uganda as an example, housing over 280,000 South Sudanese refugees (one of the largest settlements in the world), of which 86% are women and children. Shockingly, our camping experiences for a few days will be significantly more glamorous than their settlements over years. On one visit I made to Uganda last year, we found over 300 Jerry Cans outside one church, each representing a family awaiting the distribution of water. On another occasion we saw a modern day feeding of 5,000, as individuals received their monthly food allowance of 12kg food, only enough to sustain many for 13-21 days of a month. Life is hard. And yet, amidst this all, refugee churches are rising up across the camps to see the Global Goals come to life.
Take Patrick (a South Sudanese Refugee), who voluntarily (with no financial support) pioneered a refugee lead secondary school. He started under a tree with a handful of students in March 2017. A year on, and his school now has over 270 students meeting in a permanent structure, though many of the teacher are still volunteers. The ingredients of success? A relentless passion and love for others, an unwavering level of faith and prayer, and a courageous hope that believes God can do all things. Patrick could have easily given up his dream but believed in fighting for equality.
This summer, whether we love or hate camping, take time to pray for our brothers and sisters around the world who live in worse conditions for years at a time. Like Patrick, don't settle for second best, but commit to a passionate, unwavering commitment to what Gods calling you to. Respond to the refugee crisis at a time when there are more displaced persons in the world than ever before. Whether it be Hope Health Action and BMS World Mission who are tackling high risk pregnancies in Ugandan refugee settlements, All We Can responding to the Rohingya crisis or Empathy Action carrying our refugee simulations in the UK. There are many 'God's Global Goals?' friends involved who you can support.
*If you're at Focus, come and see us on Monday 30th July in the 'Growing in generosity' drinks reception, 5pm - 5:45pm and get a free copy of 'Gods Global Goals?'
Check out some of these Global Goals for issues related to this blog: