ADVERTISING
 
Saturday, December 15   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 
Flecha
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 
 

POLL
Media
Do the media in your country usually portray evangelical Christians accurately?



SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Interview
 

Refugee ministries will meet in the Netherlands

The Refugee Highway Partnership (RHP) roundtable brings together people from across Europe every year. “Christians can guide refugees and help them meet the Prince of Peace and the Real Comforter which is Jesus”.

AUTHOR Evangelical Focus, Joel Forster AMSTERDAM 08 DECEMBER 2017 10:53 h GMT+1
One of the sessions of a RHP Europe roundatble. / J. Forster

The Refugee Highway Partnership (RHP) is the movement of evangelical Christians working with refugees in Europe.



Once a year, they meet to learn from each other, build networks and share resources and experiences.



This year, more than one hundred people will travel to Helvoirt, Netherlands, for their roundtable, 5-9 February 2018.



“All sorts of people” are joining the movement. “Experienced leaders and those who are just starting to work with refugees”, explains Jan Witsel, member of the European RHP committee.



The lastest gatherings in Budapest (Hungary, 2017) and Catania (Italy, 2016) have shown how churches across Europe are making a difference in helping asylum seekers.



Witsel has been working with refugees for a decade, and he actually first met his wife, Zinash, in a refugee camp. He believes Christians can go further than most other social actors. “Governments and organizations often provide first aid like housing and food, churches can help people feel part of the community, and care about their emotional and spiritual well-being”.



Witsel told Evangelical Focus about this year’s RHP gathering in the Netherlands.



 



Question. This year the European conference is the Netherlands. What trends in the work among refugees are interesting in the country?



Answer. Churches and organizations in the Netherlands have a long history of experience in refugee ministry. A good example is the organization called Gave. They help and train Christians and churches all over the country to be involved with the life of refugees. To see them and to love them. They also have plenty of experience in giving legal advice - this year Gave plays a big role in organizing the Roundtable meeting together with RHP.



Q. How would you define the evolution of the Refugee Highway Partnership in the last few years – especially since the strong arrival of refugees in 2015?



A. There seems to be a growing interest in refugee ministry. The RHP roundtable meetings have been growing in the number of visitors. It is encouraging to see that God is bringing works with a heart for refugees.



Q. What do you believe can Christians offer to refugees?



A. Refugees look for safety, peace and comfort. They are people like all of us who want to live happy lives. The church is a strong community with a powerful message. Christians can guide refugees and help them meet he Prince of Peace and the Real Comforter which is Jesus. In Jesus Christ people find more than a new legal status, they can find an eternal status.



The community of the church also can play an important role in becoming friends and helping people find back their confidence, value and meaning in life. Governments and organizations often provide first aid like housing and food, churches can help people feel part of the community, and care about their emotional and spiritual well-being.



Q. Have the local churches in the last years taken initiatives that are making a difference in countries? Is there still reluctance towards foreigners among Christians in some countries?



A. A great initiative in the Netherlands is the movement of being a host family for a refugee. This idea came into being after the arrival of 400 refugees in a local town. A pastor and his family wanted to help these people, giving love and helping them where necessary.



They opened a Facebook page ‘I am a host family for a refugee’ with the aim to find host families for these 400 refugees. Reactions came from all over the country. Meanwhile, more than 26,000 host families from across the country have signed up.



At the same time there is also reluctance towards foreigners. Some people just fear the unknown or are afraid that strangers will take over the place and they will lose their own cultural identity. The recent terror attacks in Europe also make people afraid for welcoming Muslims and strangers.



 





Q. What kind of people attend the European RHP conference?



A. At the RHP conferences we have all sorts of people. Experienced leaders and those who are just starting to work with refugees. Some work with teams like OM, others are part of a local church, while others are doing fulltime refugee ministry with an NGO. People also are doing very different jobs. Some are helping provide first aid and food, others are policy makers and others are missionaries.



Q. Personally, what is that you enjoy the most of these annual RHP gatherings?



A. I really enjoy the feeling of unity at the roundtables. It is so great to be with so many people from different countries and backgrounds, working in the same Kingdom of God and having a heart that is burning to reach refugees with the love of Christ.



Also hearing encouraging stories and testimonies as well as learning from workshops and speakers make it a real privilege to be part of the roundtables.



 



ABOUT JAN WITSEL



Jan Witsel lives in Antwerp (Belgium) and serves as the Assistant Pastor at the Antwerp International Protestant Church. Jan has about 10 years of experience in working with refugees both in church and legal settings. He knows the refugee realities from close by as he is married to his Ethiopian wife Zinash that he first met at a refugee camp. Jan is part is one of the leaders the Refugee Highway Partnership Europe and helps organizing the Roundtable meetings.



More information abut the 2018 RHP roundtable here


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - Refugee ministries will meet in the Netherlands
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Bulgaria: Evangelicals ask government to protect religious minorities Bulgaria: Evangelicals ask government to protect religious minorities

Christians rallied in Sofia on November 18 to defend their rights. It is the second Sunday of peaceful demonstrations against a new religion draft law that could severely restrict religious freedom and rights of minority faith confessions.

 
Photos: #WalkForFreedom Photos: #WalkForFreedom

Abolitionists marched through 400 cities in 51 countries. Pictures from Valencia (Spain), October 20.

 
Photos: Reaching people with disabilities Photos: Reaching people with disabilities

Seminars, an arts exhibition, discussion and testimonies. The European Disability Network met in Tallinn.

 
Photos: Hope for Europe Photos: Hope for Europe

Unity in Diversity is the theme of the conference. Representatives of Evangelical Alliances and many other church leaders gathered in Tallinn (Estonia).

 
VIDEO Video
 
What are the benefits of the whole family being on mission? What are the benefits of the whole family being on mission?

“We’re not taking energy from my ministry when we care for our family in missional kind of ways”, says President of Josiah Venture Dave Patty.

 
“We need prayers for Bulgaria” “We need prayers for Bulgaria”

An interview with Pastor Vlady Raichinov, Vice President of the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance.

 
The Manzanas case The Manzanas case

A short documentary about how retired pastors and widows of an evangelical denomination in Spain fight a legal battle for their pensions after the favourable ruling of the European Court of Human Rights.

 
‘Mediterráneo’ ‘Mediterráneo’

“Something will change if you have hunger and thirst for justice”, sings Spanish artist Eva Betoret in a song about the refugee crisis.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.