Update: How You Can Make a Difference in the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Posted: 9/8/15 at 2:15pm. Last updated 11/15/15 at 12:07pm.

11/15/2015 Update: Over $3,500 was given at the BGAV Annual Meeting in an offering to aid those working with Syrian refugees in Croatia. Because of your generosity, the work of Baptists in Croatia will be strengthened as they minister to the refugees.

Our first Virginia Baptist team has returned from Croatia where they served alongside Croatian Baptists. Learn more about their experience.

9/30/2015 Update: Virginia Baptists have sent $7,500 to Croatian Baptists as they work to help Syrian refugees. Donations may be made at bgav.org/donate.

9/27/2015 Update: Croatian Baptists have invited Virginia Baptists to support their efforts to assist Syrian refugees.

During this weeklong opportunity, the team will minister alongside Croatian Baptists in the refugee camp. Currently, Baptists are the only faith-based organization with access to the camp.

Final costs will be determined as teams are assembled. Current estimates put the cost at about $1,500-1,800.

Interested in joining one of these teams? Please fill out the Refugee Mission Experience interest form, and someone from the Glocal Missions Team will follow up with you.

9/15/15 Update: The Baptist General Association of Virginia has sent $5,000 to Austrian Baptist Aid, an arm of the Austrian Baptist Union.

Austria is both a destination for many migrants and a transiting country for others seeking refuge in Germany. The Austrians are currently providing food and shelter at this time with a long term plan under development.

“Virginia Baptists have a longstanding relationship with Austrian Baptists dating back to our partnership with them over a decade ago,” said Dean Miller, team leader of the BGAV’s glocal missions team.

“Our current relationship involves our Venturer program and sponsorship of a church planter in the area — Cesar Sotomayor — who has been working with immigrants and refugees as part of his ongoing church planting strategy. The Austrians are trusted friends and we are more than happy to walk alongside them at this time.”

Miller said a group of Virginia Baptist will attend the European Baptist Federation meeting next week to participate in discussions on the crisis. “This will allow Virginia Baptists to engage in first hand conversations with those who are on the front lines of this crisis and gain a better understanding of the overall response and how we might move forward with a comprehensive plan with our partners.”

Miller said Sept. 15 an additional $20,000 has been sent through the European Baptist Federation to assist Ukrainian Baptists working with refugees from the eastern part of their country, which is embroiled in unrest. Thousands of Ukrainians have fled the country’s border with Russia for safer locations in the western Ukraine.

“A detailed plan has been developed by the Ukrainian Baptists in partnership with the EBF to provide immediate assistance to refugees in their country,” said Miller

We have all seen the pictures and heard the stories of tens of thousands of Syrians doing all they can to escape the conflict in their homeland.

Many of them perishing along the journey and many more finding continuous roadblocks in their pathway to freedom from repression and many other atrocities. There are more than a dozen countries struggling with their response to this flood of people and there seems to be no end in sight.

The Baptist General Association of Virginia is partnering with the European Baptist Federation to channel funds (and potentially volunteers) to several other Baptist Unions in these affected countries.

Regardless of the political stances of any of these countries the fact remains that the refugees are hungry, tired, ill and spiritually and emotionally drained. Our efforts will help Baptists in this part of the world bring hope and healing where it is needed most.