All over the world, people are moving into cities. As this trend continues to take on momentum, many American cities are experiencing a renaissance. My hometown of Birmingham is not an exception. This city is experiencing an emergence of refurbished high-rise apartments, beautifully designed green spaces, trendy restaurants and a brand new sports stadium.[i] As the city center buzzes with new life, more people continue to move into the city.
While urban renewal remains a robust trend throughout North America, the renewal does not translate into solving all the problems of our inner cities. Vast areas with overwhelming, chronic needs remain. Poverty, drugs, prostitution, addiction, and violent crime continue to thrive. Behind it all stands a long line of broken lives.
65 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced from their homes. 22 million of those are refugees who have fled from their home countries. Half of that 22 million are children.
June 20 marks World Refugee Day and June 25 is World Refugee Sunday, giving us a week to focus and reflect on the current refugee crisis and pray over how we as Christians are called to intervene.
I went on my first mission trip when I was twenty years old. Coming home from a short two weeks spent sharing the love of Christ and news of the gospel, I knew I had discovered an aspect of Christian life I’d been missing. But I didn’t know how to keep living the “mission trip life” back at home. It seems impossible, among the whirlwind of daily responsibilities, to find the time or the place to be a witness among the lost. It’s easy to forget, and it’s easy to be timid.