There are aliens whom we know as migrants, all around us today.
Malaysia has become the beacon of hope for millions of them. Yet for many Malaysians, for all the interest and attention we showed them, they might as well have been on another planet!
Previously, we deem serving in missions as requiring us to leave our home country and cross geographical boundaries into a more challenging country to present the Gospel. However the word “Nations” as stipulated in the Matt 28:18-20 means ethnic groups, rather than geographical states as we understand them today. Ethnos is defined as a group of people with a common cultural and ancestry ties that bind them together. This identity is expressed in their world view, common values, beliefs and behaviour. We need to understand it in a social, cultural, and ethical setting that is apart from the geography.
The 2001 issue of Operation World stated that about 10% of the world population did not stay in their country of origin. Many had left due to one of these three reasons – 1) racial or religious reasons; 2) political allegiances; and 3) social-economic reasons. To some extent the movement is also prompted by the devastating effects of natural disasters such as the earthquakes, tsunamis, famines and droughts. Some 80% of these are economic migrants. As resources become scarce, people tend to migrate to areas where they can find relief from their sufferings. These reasons have caused the dispersion of people to places to where they could be just a short hop from where we stay. These voiceless and non-visible groups, unless we search deeper, are to be found at our door steps.
We need to know what the Bible says of these groups of migrants or sojourners. God had to constantly remind the Israelites to care for the poor, the downtrodden and the deprived, especially the orphans, widows, fatherless and interestingly the migrants within their midst. This comes as a timely reminder for us because the God we worship is Gracious and Compassionate.
As a Chinese proverb states, “We can build walls to prevent the winds from blowing against us or we can build a windmill to churn the winds that God has sent our way”, the church today needs to view the changing trends of world mission.
We should start sending our workers to the millions of migrants that are now flocking into our land in search of a better livelihood.