Participants share about refugee outreach in Austria

OM International | Austria

Thirteen participants from all over the world spent a week getting to know and supporting the refugee work in Linz, during this year’s outreach organized by the Arbeitskreis Migration & Integration Network (AMIN) in Austria. They visited refugee families, showed the Jesus film, organised meetings for refugee women, and much more. Six participants share about their experiences below:

Seeking for truth

I was able to get to know an Afghan family. In spite of our many differences, for instance the differences in our faith, it was a wonderful time and we could laugh a lot together. Jesus was with us each time we visited, and we could feel His love amongst us. During a longer visit, we were able to talk with the man about the differences and similarities between the Koran and the Bible. He understood God’s greatness and power, and even reads the Bible. We are praying that God will show him that the God of the Bible is the true God.

An exciting and impressive week

The AMIN week was truly blessed and led by God. The hospitality of the refugees and their openness to talk about faith impressed me. We invited them to watch the Jesus film and over 100 refugees came. It overwhelms me to see how God is working amongst Muslims and is drawing them to Himself.

A visit to Austria with a difference

I praise God for an unbelievable week in Linz! God gave me the opportunity to come to Austria for a week. While the Jesus film was showing, several participants began to pray in the background that God would open the hearts of the hearers and that the Holy Spirit would work miracles. We asked Jesus to reveal himself in a special way to these refugees. This was my first experience (I come from Asia) of meeting so many refugees from so many different countries – Bosnia, Romania, Syria, Ghana, Pakistan, Iran, Nigeria, etc. They were pleasant, polite and friendly. At the end, several showed interest in knowing more about Jesus and gave us their contact details so that we could invite them to further events. That was very encouraging for those who had worked and prayed for this. We trust God for the perfect time to bring in this harvest. I pray that God will send more workers to this field to build his kingdom.

Seeking hope

I was thrilled to see so many refugees coming to the meeting centre. Once I met a young man from Afghanistan, and he told me his story while sitting in the sewing room at the centre sewing a T-shirt. Cast out by his father, he and his brothers and sisters and mother fled to Iran. When he was fourteen he went to Turkey and trained to be a tailor. About a year ago he came to Austria. His father had ruined everything and he wanted to do better. I hope and pray that young people like him will find a life of freedom. It was a very moving week in which I was inspired for the work amongst refugees. I returned to everyday life motivated and refreshed, full of new ideas and valuable contacts.

Homework helper

As is often the case in work with refugees, there were many spontaneous changes in the plans during the AMIN week. Instead of giving out invitations for a celebration, I was asked to help the children with their homework in the afternoon programme. As patience and dealing with children’s noise are not exactly my strong points, I was wondering how I would cope as teacher’s helper.

Most of the children went to work enthusiastically, and I was amazed at their trust in me. That made the job much easier. With a few other children, it took all my ingenuity to motivate them to stick at their homework or the extra exercises. Discipline was sometimes a challenge too as several children tried to find out who was really the boss! At the end of the afternoon - four hours of the noise and bundled up energy of twenty children - I felt exhausted.

The afternoon help with homework, in which the workers really give of their best, gives the children a tremendous chance to succeed in school. And just as valuable is the atmosphere of worth, and encouragement, which is not linked to country, religion or gender. In many of the families from which these children come, that is not to be taken for granted.

Waiting

One afternoon during the AMIN week we met Abdullah*, my Syrian friend. We hadn’t seen each other for a long time so we were all happy to meet up again. Abdullah had studied Arabic in Syria and then worked for several years as a shoemaker. Now it is easy to communicate with him comfortably in German. A few months ago, he was granted asylum and now he wants nothing more than to find a job. But until now his search has been unsuccessful and his hopes of building a new life for himself are not being realized. This is depressing him and he is beginning to draw back from the outside world. I encouraged him to stay in contact with me. Many refugees here are finding that the reality is different from their expectations. Receiving asylum is no guarantee of a successful new beginning. Not many refugees expected it would be so hard to find work in Europe. As Christians, we need to constantly encourage them not to give up. We pray for them, and invite them to come to Him who holds everything in His hand, and is our hope.

* Name changed

Published: Tuesday, 11 October 2016
Credit: OM International
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