Today, August 25, marks four years since the Rohingya refugee crisis began. We would invite you to pause and pray with us for the Rohingya people.  

It was this day in 2017 that desperate, horror-filled, grief-stricken men, women, and children began streaming across the border separating Bangladesh and Myanmar. The exodus grew rapidly—from several hundred, to tens of thousands of people crossing the border each week, in what was soon the world’s fastest- growing refugee crisis.  By Christmas 2017, just four months later, the small Bangladesh coastal village of Cox’s Bazar had received over 650,000 Rohingya refugees. Now, four years on, Cox’s Bazar remains home to over 880,000 Rohingya refugees.  

MicrosoftTeams-image-(1).pngCox's Bazar.

As I’ve prepared to write this blog, I have found myself drawn to a prayer written by Archbishop Óscar Romero. Please allow me to share some of the lines from his prayer and explain why these particular lines are significant to me as I remember today the Rohingya refugees. 

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view. The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realising that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. We are workers, not master builders; ministers not messiahs. We are prophets of a future that is not our own.

If it was within my power, I would want to heal the Rohingya from the brutality which they experienced in Myanmar, which not only forced them from their homeland, but left so many suffering from ongoing trauma and deep distress. If it was in my power, I would want to bring them safely to a new home; one where they are no longer confined inside one of the world’s most densely concentrated refugee camps, having to endure cyclones, floods, and fires that add misery to their hardship, and forced to be dependent on others for their most basic needs. If it was in my power, I would want to see the Rohingya thriving and not just surviving; seeing them enjoying the freedoms and opportunities which I enjoy, rather than this life in purgatory; this unnatural in-between-place of existence in a refugee camp; not prisoners, but not free to leave and go and do as they please.  

If it was in my power, I would simply snap my fingers and there would be no more Rohingya refugee crisis. Because it is a heart breaking crisis. Because there is no simple solution, and no clear end in sight. Because, four years on, the global community is slowly edging away from the Rohingya people, awkwardly beginning to turn its back on them and their hosts, the people of Bangladesh, and quietly kind of hoping that this ‘problem’ might just fade into the background. That’s why, eight months into the year, only 31% of the funding sought from the international community to help adequately care for Rohingya refugees in 2021 has been received.  

If it was in my power… But it’s not.  

I cannot do everything.  

I am not called to be a Messiah.  

But I am called to be a worker, a minister… To do SOMETHING, and to do it very well.  
 

MicrosoftTeams-image-(253).pngA mother and her daughter sit inside their shelter in a Rohingya refugee camp.

So, today, as I pray for the Rohingya people, I hand over to God everything I cannot do, trusting that He does want His best for the Rohingya people, believing that nothing is impossible for Him, and asking that He helps me see His long view.  

And I thank Him for the giving and generosity of Tearfund’s supporters, as well as for funding from the New Zealand Government, that allows our partner in Cox’s Bazar to do something for the Rohingya people, and to that something VERY well! I thank Him that, this year, our partner Medair has been able to do the following:
 


Provide nearly 30,000 Rohingya children with nutritional support, curing those who had been suffering from malnutrition while preventing many more children from becoming malnourished.  

Caring for nearly 7,000 new and expectant Rohingya mums. Ensuring they have extra food and nutritional support.  

Provide free primary healthcare which, so far, has benefitted over 30,000 visitors this year. 

Contribute to a Covid vaccination campaign that is benefitting 48,000 refugees. And making sure some of the most vulnerable refugees, those with disabilities, and the elderly, can receive vaccinations.

MicrosoftTeams-image-(255).png
Staff prepare to vaccinate Rohingya Refugees against Covid-19.

MicrosoftTeams-image-(254).png A Rohingya refugee receives Covid-19 vaccination.

If you’ve read this far, I want to say thank you to you for remembering the Rohingya people today. God bless you, thank you for praying. Tearfund will continue to advocate for the Rohingya. We hope that this will never become a forgotten crisis, and that a life-giving, long-term solution can be reached that affords the Rohingya freedom from a refugee camp.  We are so grateful for our community of friends and supporters who continue to give so we can do something (and do it well!) for the benefit of the Rohingya people!  

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." - Galatians 6: 9-10.


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