You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself
We are in a unique moment in history. Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children have fled war, poverty and autocratic governments and come to Europe seeking refuge. Many of them are Christians who have fled persecution in their home countries. Many more are Muslim and have never heard that Jesus loves them. Far away from the place where they grew up, they feel lonely and unwanted. We make sure they know that they are not alone.
We stand for a world that offers refuge to victims of war and compassion for those who are seeking a better life. We support them in the asylum process, explaining asylum law and helping them to document their story. We offer German courses so that they will be successful in their new home. We also provide individualized help, everything from helping someone to find a roommate to accompanying them on a doctor's visit and we mobilize more established migrants and refugees to help new arrivals.
There is more to life. Many refugees are searching for answers to life’s questions. We provide a welcoming place where persecuted Christians and Muslims interested in Jesus can receive spiritual care and enjoy Christian fellowship. Afghan and Iranian men and women tell us that they have been hurt and disappointed by the religious leaders in their home countries and they are questioning what they have been taught. They are fascinated by Jesus' teaching on love, peace and forgiveness. Together we celebrate a weekly Farsi language worship service with worship, prayer and a biblical message all in Farsi.
We also support churches across Austria to develop their holistic refugee ministry and provide leadership training for refugees so that they too can go out and invite others into a relationship with God. We have current and former students serving in churches in Vienna, Linz, Salzburg and Innsbruck as well as several smaller towns.
You and your church can join us in this vital ministry. Will you partner with a regular gift so that we can continue to bring Jesus to refugees?
Everyone should have a church where they can worship God in their own language.
Together with a local church we have built up a Christian community where Farsi speakers worship and study the Bible in their own language and enjoy Christian fellowship. This is the only Farsi language congregation in the province. People travel from over a dozen towns and from over 100 km to attend.
Every worship service is also translated into German. We invite refugees and Austrians to meet and get to know each other as well as serve and worship side by side. We help refugees learn the language and culture of their adopted home by teaching German and integration courses.
As a church we want to learn to follow Jesus and to become his disciples. Our Farsi language discipleship courses bring us to Jesus and teach us what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
One of our goals is to raise up refugee leaders who will serve other refugees and be an impact for Christ in Europe.
Milad* arrived in Austria shortly after we began our work in there. Already then he was interested in Christianity, but his focus was on starting a new life in Austria. When the immigration officials denied his asylum application he was devastated. We appealed the decision but for months he was angry with God for letting this happen. Every week we prayed and studied the Bible together, and eventually he learned to accept his situation and to trust that God loved him and would provide for him.
The appeal process lasted two years and during this time Milad grew in faith. As his German improved we asked him to serve in the church by translating the Sunday sermon. Finally, he was granted religious asylum.
Milad once shared that he was thankful that his asylum application was initially denied, otherwise he may have never had learned to trust in God. Milad is now serving in a church in Vienna and is leading on-line Bible studies to students around the world.
* names have been changed for privacy and security reasons
We have assisted hundreds of persecuted Christians from Iran and Afghanistan with their asylum applications. Gordy studied refugee law in Austria and is authorized to represent asylum seekers. We provide information explaining the asylum process to asylum seekers already present in Austria. We help them to document their evidence and testify on their behalf. It is important that refugees do not have to do this alone.
We also provide information in other legal matters and accompany refugees to government offices. Sometimes it is important to know that you have someone on your side. We want refugees to know that they are not alone.
We offer individualized help to Farsi speaking asylum seekers and refugees. We do not discriminate on the basis of religion.
- accompanying on doctor visits
- reading German mail
- German practice groups
- apartment/roommate search
- job search
Sometimes folks just need to talk. Whatever they need we try to be there when someone needs a helping hand.
Many churches are committed to serving refugees, but how can they if they can't communicate?
Nestled in the Alps of Tirol a small evangelical church in town with less than 30 members meets in an industrial district. These days however there are sometimes as many as 50 in their church services, almost half of them refugees. Obviously this is a challenge for this small congregation without a paid pastor. The church is committed to serving the refugees who live in a government refugee home and the refugees are open to the gospel, but they need support.
There are quite a few small churches in Austria facing this situation. We provide support for church leadership, recommend teaching videos and books in Persian and developed an interactive discipleship course in Farsi that can be implemented even without any mature Farsi speaking leaders. We also travel to churches to minister refugees in their language. The church in Tirol is doing well and moving forward, and some of the refugees there join us every six months for an intensive discipleship school.
If your church would like us to visit you contact us via the contact page.
There are many ways for you to help refugees.
Pray actively with us for those fleeing war and oppression. Give generously to those who have lost everything. Go yourself and serve practically.
The single most powerful thing that you can do to help refugees is to pray for them. Pray for those who are on the journey, for those in the boats, in the prisons, in the cold. Pray for those who have arrived, for a home, for a job, for a friend. Pray for those who have yet to leave for security, for wisdom, for courage.
Imagine what God would do if you were to regularly pray for refugees. How would the world change? How would you change? Would you join us in a spiritual challenge of praying for refugees, for the poor and oppressed? If you have decided to pray with us would you send us a short note to encourage us? It’s good to know that we aren’t praying alone.
If you don’t feel comfortable praying or don’t feel you know how to pray, you are not alone. After listening to Jesus pray, his disciples asked him to teach them how to pray. Interestingly, it’s not recorded that they asked him to teach them how to preach or how to serve. How many of you think that being close enough to hear Jesus pray might make you want a lesson or two? Jesus patiently taught them and he will teach you too, if you ask him.
Lord teach us to pray!
Your gift makes a difference. Your gift ensures that refugees continue to have a warm place where they can meet, that lonely hurting people have a pastor who will listen to them and pray for them in their own language, that excited new believers will be trained and sent out into the refugee community.
We are amazed how God provides for this work. We are honored that you trust us with your finances. We are challenged to use each gift to come along side hurting people and point them to the source of peace, hope and love.
By giving you are sharing in God’s work. You are making an investment in a person’s life. Jesus said, “The one who sows sparingly will reap sparingly, but the one who sows bountifully will reap bountifully” In other words, you get out what you give in. Could it be that we get what we give? Could it be that we have as much of God as we are really seeking.Please invest in a refugee today.
You too can serve refugees directly. That could be in a different country, but if you look around you will likely discover that in your community there are refugees and new arrivals from other cultures that need your love.
Practical ways you can engage with those near you:
- Get connected. Ask your local church or a community center if they know of any groups working with refugees or migrants in your area. They can also introduce you to people who are looking for help. Ask us about coming to Austria yourself and working alongside us.
- Volunteer your skills. A friend of mine fixes bikes for free another fixes computers. We have many volunteers who have taught German classes. A doctor in our church volunteered with the Austrian Red Cross to see refugees without insurance. Law students in Salzburg volunteer to offer legal help.
- Do a Bible study. Jesus said that he had been anointed to proclaim good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, to heal the blind and to set the oppressed free. Wouldn’t it be great if your small group talked about the poor, prisoners, the blind and the oppressed?