Evangelical Migration Centre, Karlsruhe. A Surprising God, A Surprising People and A Surprising Culture – Part II

29 10 2016

After over a Decade of ministry in Freiburg, we moved to Karlsruhe in 2011. In Karlsruhe, we joined Free Evangelical Church (FeG) and helped to reach out to foreigners and refugees. The Lord has blessed the willingness of the FeG and many migrants came to the international Worship. In 2img_3875-1012, Pastor Kraska Wolfgang shared with me that the Free Evanglical churches in Karlsruhe are looking to serve refugees in some way but do not have a plan yet. I am very thankful to Pastor Kraska who trusted me and tried to encourage me in the Migrant  Ministry. In fact, FeG Karlsruhe has asked me to be their migrant ministry lead person and  help the church to engage in the Migrant ministry.

As we continued served the Lord among refugees, we find some churches who are more willing to engage with refugee ministry.   As we arrived in Karlsruhe there were only handful of people who were reaching out to refugees. I had the vision to bring together Free Evangelical churches together in this ministry.My first volunteer contact was Joel Burghoff who came to help me to visit refugees in their camps and work together to establish ‘Welcome Team’. We both dreamed together about a Christian center for refugees.  ‘The Welcome Team#’ was very important to the Refugee Ministry in Karlsruhe. Several young people From FeG Karlsruhe joined ‘The Welcome Team’. Together with these young people we started to visit refugees in their camps. As we continued our ministry several Students and believers  joined us from other churches for a regular visit to refugee camps and prayers. Through this Welcome Team we engagimg_3572ed several programs for refugees. We also established a Contact Day for refugee workers. I found that young people were much more open to other cultures and willing to engage with refugees. In deed, the Welcome Team paved the way for an Idea of working together in the churches. Since we had several of our team members from various free evangelical churches and we painted a picture of unity for the glory of God. Of course, there were struggles to but the glory of God always outweighs the struggles that we have in our lives.

img_3871-1

At the same time, God allowed me to meet a youth Pastor Immanuel from Per.Du church in Durlach. This young Pastor was more than willing to meet with me and help me in anyway he can. Our relationship with Immanuel paved the way for many activities for refugees, such as International Evening, Summer Sport’s Camp for Migrants, Refugee Sunday etc. Per.Du church is a vital part of for the Refugee Ministry in Karlsruhe and encouraging us in the direction of Evangelical Migrant Centre.

As we continued our ministry, the Lord brought several people in our path. One of them was a young man called Micha Schlittenhartd. Refugee Ministry International agreed to support Micah to help me in the ministry. Together with Micah and others we explored several ideas and one of them was becoming partners of Nehemiah Initiative, Karlsruhe. The founder of this Initiative is Friedemanimg_3560n Kalmbach, who is a local politician. I have met with Mr.Kalmbach and talked about a possible support role for our ministry among refugees. He was very enthusiastic and wanted to support the work in Karlsruhe, f

or which I am very thankful. Mr.Kalmbach was exploring a possible place where several ministries can be offered to the people in Karlsurhe, including a refugee centre. However, things did not happened the way we thought. At the same time, Mr.Kalmbach encourage me that we can try to find ananother place and he was already trying contact several people to find a place for us.

Will. continue…

 





Evangelical Migration Centre, Karlsruhe. A Surprising God, A Surprising People and A Surprising Culture – Part I

25 10 2016

 

emc_flyerI want to share with you all that  the way  in which God has surprised all of us, and how we came about an Evangelical Migration Centre in Karlsruhe. All the glory go to our God forever and ever. I just want all of you to know how all the things started and came together. The subtitle is very important and I will try to explain why I chose this.

Louise and I have been working nearly two decades among refugees. This was not our plan but our God has made it that way. Since we came to Germany, we several times prayed and wished that Christians would show the love of Care and concern for refugees who are living among them. I always wished that Christians should not just depend on the Government to support the needy among them. We have a mandate to care for the needy.  It is our calling to serve refugees.  As you know Germany  is one of the best in the world to provide support and help to refugees in their country. At the same time, we were often surprised to see that some  Christians were moved with the compassion of Christ and serving refugees in many camps and places.

It is important to stress that many Christians believe it is God’s love that compels them to love Refugees. Also  Christians just do not care for refugees’  physical needs but also for their spiritual needs. It is because we believe that the Lord Jesus Christ did the same for us, expecting nothing from us.  As true believers, we love those who are not loveable, expecting nothing but for the glory of God. It is important for all the Christians to understand this. There is a temptation that we do things for refugees, because we expect something back from them, or a vivid demonstration of their thankfulness (it is very much expected in the Western Culture), or some kind of acknowledgement or social demonstration of church’s ministry to the needy (so that my church is well accepted for their good in the community). Well, there is nothing wrong in some kind of reciprocal acknowledgement, but it is not the reason that we as Christian serve or help refugees. I have met some Pastors and some Christians who wanted to do something for refugees so that they are seen as socially engaging and in turn it will  help their churches to be recognised and accepted in the society. To be honest, I have time for such people, because they are in for themselves not for the glory of God.

With this thought in our minds, we always prayed and dreamed about a Christian Centre  for Refugees where they could just come in and find help without any manipulation of  their situation . At the same time, they also should have an opportunity to hear about the God who loves them so much and send his Son to die for their sins. I dreamed about a place where we as Christians help families, children, husbands and wives to live in a  new culture with support and care,  ( not just for a week, or until the project finishes rather a long-time investment in the lives of migrants) and help them to interclude (read my article in this blog about “interclusion”) them in their new country. At the same time I envisioned that when Christians come together and serve refugees, it will show others the God who we worship is One and He indeed cares for refugees. With this Vision, for years, I have knocked many doors, asked many people, told them it is possible that we can do this for God’s glory. Well, responses were some what muted. Most of the time, people told me that I have a good Idea but not now, or or we need lots of money, or Interesting Idea, or you are a foreigner  and you don’t know the culture, most disappointingly some (not all) thought I was looking for money for my self (Many migrant ministers experience this in Europe) or  our church has so many needs so we cannot now etc. However, a few friends of mine were encouraging me, particularly, my ECM Ireland Director Charlie Anderson was very engaging with the plan and pushed me often to try  harder for which I am thankful. I also must give credit to my Support Group in Northern Ireland, they are our greatest advocates and always encouraged Louise and I to continue to seek the Lord and develop the Idea of Christian Migrant centre.

will continue….

 





4th Summer Sport’s Camp for Refugees

27 07 2016
Sport's_Camp_2016
 
We are delighted that we will be able to host our 4th Summer Sport’s camp for refugees from 1-6 August 2016. In Europe, things are getting difficult and refugees are not so welcome. Recent events in Europe have created more difficulties for refugees. Natural reaction would be that we react in a way that is not pleasing to our God. We want to follow God’s word and care for Refugees and migrants. We as God’s people never be intimiated by violence but see that our calling is to serve those in need and thus proclaim the love of God. The Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated at the cross the violence can be defeated with love. Christ gave his life as a sacrifice to others so that others can have life eternal. As his disciples, we will walk in the path of our Master.We want to serve our Master for his glory. This means, we will not always be comfortable, or without troubles. We are his instruments in bringing changes in the lives of people who may like or may not like us. We want to be the Salt of the earth (Matt.5:13) which protects, preserves and bring changes in others.  So, don’t be discouraged by what is going on in Europe, but be energised to live for Christ and share his love with others. Only God’s love can change hardened hearts.
So, will you pray for our sport’s camp and ask God to be our help, strength, joy and delight. Pray that many refugees may come, join us and be blessed by the Love of God through his people. This year, we have two teams from USA and Northern Ireland joining us with the glocan German believers. Antidote to alienation is relationship, love and care. If you are in Karlsruhe, come and join us.




A Refugee’s Funeral

20 07 2016

Today, I went with some of the Tamil friends to a refugee’s funeral in the north of Germany. This refugee was killed in an accident on 6.4.2016. At that time, we were in Croatia for our ECM Bianniel Conference. As soon as we heard this, we left Croatia to come back to Germany to give support and probably help with the funeral for this refugee. This young man came from Sri Lanka and lived neary 4 years in Germany, waiting for his application for asylum being approved. When he arrived first, I met him in the reception center and got to know him well. Eventually, I found out that he was related to me through my mother’s side, but I never met him before until he was in Germany. His name was Baskaran, married with two children. He often came to our Tamil church, where he showed real interest in the Gospel. Eventually, he moved to another camp and we still met each other time to  time. Until, we got the devated news that he was killed in a Car accident, on his way to renew his temporary Visa to stay here and work.

We thought, it is a matter of getting things organised and get his wife and children to Germany so that they can see the body of husband and their father. Well, I did not realise how hard it was to get a Visa for his family or a funeral organised for a refugee.  Almost all the offices that we went gave us very little help and basically told us, we are not his relative and can do nothing. What they said was true that many of his friends were not his relatives, but they were the only ones he had in his life in Germany. In fact, his friends were his mother, father, brother, cousin and more. Many people do not realise that when a refugee comes to another country, he has no ones with him or her except his friends (I am generalising here but there are several refugees have come with their families too).

Ironically, this Refugee man was very popular among Tamil people because of his ability to play very good Volleyball and other sports.  He He also played for a local German Volleyball team and won several matches for them. He was a star on his own right and he had many friends in the area where he lived.  However, nothing helped this poor man’s family to see their beloved one’s dead body soon. His wife’s application for a Visa to come to Germany was rejected several times eventually they gave here Visa with the Condition that she should leave her both sons at home and then go to Germany, do the funeral and other necessary things and come back. It took, nearly 3 1/2 months to get the Visa, while their beloved one’s body was laying around  in a cool room.  This was a real difficult time for a wife and children. This is how many refugee families go through ordeals like this.

Suddenly,  I heard from his wife that she was coming on 17th July and her husband’s body will be burried on 19th July. I really thank God for the embassy people who finally helped her get a visa and praise the Lord for theim. So, I re-oranised all my things to go to the funeral and say good bye to this lovely man who was seeking a Saviour. I contacted some of his friends who were also planning to go and I joined them and traveled together this morning (4 1/2 hours drive from my place).  When we arrived at the funeral place, we were all very eager to see his body and say goodbye to him personally (seeing the body and giving the last respect is a very cultural thing in the   South East). However, we were told, we will not be able to see his body, because it was not kept in a proper cooling place. The funeral man told me, he could not understand why but his body was in a bad shape and they could not clothe his body but just covered the body with a long clothe. It was a real shock to his friends and they were all so sad. However, in my mind, I was wondering, why they did not keep his body in a freezer? We are told that the insurace company would have paid all the money necessary.  Was that the reason that he was a refugee who was no body? No relatives here, no wealth, he had nothing! This thought is still linkering in my mind.

Baskaran was a good husband, he adored his two boys and dreamed that they will come to Germany and do well. He loved his wife and tried to phone her daily and asked of her well being. However, his life came to an end in a country where he fled for safety. He was burried in a place where he never ever visited or even known this place. His two children were not at the funeral, his wife was his only close relative and others all were his friends. Who said coming to Europe will solve all the problems! In fact, I thought, what a sad situation that each refugee must face in the light of death in their lives. The Lord Jesus offers us an amazing comfort, “ “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;” (John 11:25). This is the only comfort anyone can have  and need to have. So, will you pray for Baskarn’s wife, two children, his parents and siblings. Pray that the justice be done for him and for his family, as they face an unexpected life before them. May the Lord be their help and strength.

Click here for the photos from the accident in 6.04.2106

http://www.heidelberg24.de/region/fotos-leon-rot-toedlicher-unfall-richtung-heidelberg-auto-zerdrueckt-6285492.html

 





Refugees in Europe: Identity and Integration

3 03 2016

Integration, Inclusion and Interclusion

I have been living a life for over 25 years as migrant in various cultures, societies and so on. Of course this has amazing impact on my life. So, I have been thinking for a long time a possible and helpful way to address the whole issue of Integration and Inclusion. This help me to coin my own word “Interclusion”. Here is a video that suggest this idea. It is not complete but we can continue to work on how we can help and support others to feel at home. By the way, my thoughts are very much based on the Christian Worldview and unchanging Word of God. Therefore, the idea of “Interclusion” suited for people who share the same Worldview as I am. With Jesus on our side, we can do more to help others to find a home with us. To be part of Interclusion, you need the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ to give and take for His glory. Please watch the video below. 

http://evangelicalfocus.com/multimedia/1417/Refugees_in_Europe_Identity_and_integration





From Exclusion to Inclusion

7 10 2015

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This year European Evangelical Alliance’s general meeting is taking place in Germany. The Theme is “From Exclusion to Inclusion”. It is a very important topic for many churches in Europe, where many migrants feel excluded and not understood. I am delighted that EEA is taking lead in this important issue in time in Europe. Will you please pray for this event. Of course one of the main interest in the assembly is also reaching out to Refugees. We have had already some wonderful time. Pray for these European Evangelical leaders may be let by the Lord Jesus Christ.

We cannot exclude God’s people from his church simply because they are different, comes from different cultures, or have different practices. It is important that we recognize that God’s intention is to include all his people into his family. We need to see the way God sees his people. We all are different does not mean we don’t belong to each other. We have One heavenly Father, we are his children. In a family there are various members, we all share the same values but some of them may not behave the way others in a same family. So, we try our best to get along and still consider them in our family as well. Of course this not the perfect illustration, but you get my point. If we see someone belong to us, we will not make their differences so huge that keeps us away from each other, rather we seek to minimize the issue so that we can function as a loving family. In other words, love for the family member overrides the desire of excluding him or her from where they belong. This is a good place for us to start to not to exclude people who are unlike others from our church families but seek to serve them in God’s love for his glory. Of course, inclusion does not mean, we do not have boundaries. God has give us in his word what are the boundaries for His church.We will keep his boundaries which are there to keep his family safe for his glory.





Migrant Tragedies

28 08 2015
death_in_a_Lorry_2015_austria

taken from the Gardian

Few days ago we heard that two boats full of migrants sank off Libya and 200 migrants are still missing. Yesterday, there was an another tragedy of finding a Lorry in Austrian with nearly 70 bodies of suffocated migrants. These stories have broken our hearts and makes us all so sad. People are desperate to get to Europe to get a new life but some of them are ending their lives in a tragic way. I just want to post this on my blog to show that these needy people are risking their lives for better lives on this earth. Well, we as Christians know all human lives are precious in the sight of our God, who took on the human flesh to demonstrate to us that He cares for his created human beings like no other. My heart cries for these migrants who have passed into the eternity, perhaps without knowing their Creator. It is our duty that we care for these migrants before they die, before they passed  into eternity without their God. This means, we as Christians have a moral duty to ask our governments to protect these migrants who look for a place of Refuge. How we do this, I think, we each have to find our way to do things in a way that honours our Lord Jesus Christ. For me, I want to call upon the Lord to be their Refuge and protect these migrants from these tragedies for His glory. Also, seek a way to be influential in our churches, in our communities to show that God loves migrants  and share our lives with these migrants for the glory of God (Deut.10:18).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-34082304

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/08/28/at-least-70-bodies-migrants-found-in-truck-along-austria-highway-officials-say/?intcmp=hpbt4http://http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/28/more-than-70-dead-austria-migrant-truck-tragedy