Enabling Ordinary People to
Transform the Lives of Urban Refugees

The End of the Safe House

Posted by on Nov 26, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

_APY8532While we were in Bangkok, police raided the Safe House. Thanks to some quick thinking, the refugees who were there at the time were able to avoid arrest, and soon after, all the families fled.  It was a terrifying time for all of us.  Thankfully, all of our families are ok, and have since found safe homes. However, two breaches over two years makes it clear that God wants something more for our families.

Paradoxically, this crisis was an answer to prayer. For some time, we had been praying about whether to keep the Safe House open. When we started the Safe House, it had been because our volunteers on the ground believed in the Safe House, and were able to galvanize their community to get behind it and support it. Over the past two years, the volunteers who had founded the Safe House left Bangkok. And while new volunteers stepped up in their place, those new volunteers did not have the same passion for it. They were willing to put in the work to keep it going, but it wasn’t something they felt called to do.

As an organization, our ethos is to find where God is moving people’s hearts, and then to partner with that movement. Our volunteers in Bangkok guide our decision. Our heart is to enable people to love refugees.

So when our people on the ground no longer felt called to manage a Safe House, we were inclined to shift away from it. But it wasn’t that simple: The refugees still loved living in the House, and it had been an incredible tool that helped connect supporters with the refugee families. We sought God on what we should do. And when the families were forced to flee the Safe House, our answer was clear.

And we have found that no longer running a Safe House has been a huge, freeing step as an organization. Since then, we have started two new partnerships with churches in Bangkok, and have more than doubled the number of refugees we are reaching. Our leaders in Bangkok also have more time to focus on education for refugees.

More than anything, we are following where God is leading our volunteers to minister to refugees. It’s been incredibly exciting to see him continue to move in people’s hearts, and I can’t wait to see what more He has in store.

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7 Things You Should Know About the Re-Persecuted

Posted by on Nov 21, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

1. Who they are

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The re-persecuted are refugees who flee their home countries, usually because of their religious beliefs.  They escape the persecution in their home countries, only to be persecuted again when they arrive in Thailand.

 

2. Why they come to Thailand

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For many refugees, Thailand is the quickest, easiest country to escape to. Additionally, the United Nations Refugee office is there. After a long process, there’s the possibility that United Nations could give refugees official status. After the refugees receive this status, the United Nations will try to find a new country that they can move to permanently.

 

3. What happens when they get to Thailand

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Most refugees arrive in Thailand on a 60-day tourist visa. As soon as the visa expires, Thai immigration police hunt them down, and will throw entire families into a terrible, filthy, prison. So families live in the shadows, forced into begging, or worse, to survive.

 

4. Why Thai Police Hunt Them Down

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Unlike most countries in the world (including all Western countries),  Thailand does not offer any protection for refugees. Instead, they hunt down refugees and throw entire families in prison.

 

5. For the re-persecuted, life in Bangkok can feel like a nightmare 

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They don’t speak the native language, and are forbidden from working. It is almost impossible for their kids to enter school. They may go days without eating, and always teeter on the brink of homelessness. Any time they step outside their home, they risk arrest. Police will even raid apartments, so any knock on the door could mean that an entire family will be sent to prison.

 

6. It’s especially terrible for kids

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In the few years that they have been alive, refugee children face more hate than many of us will in a lifetime. In Bangkok, they are stuck in tiny apartments all day, unable to run and play outside. Moreover, it is almost impossible for them to go to school, so they may go years without formal education.

 

7. There is hope

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Light shines brightest in the darkness. In the absence of any government help, churches in Bangkok are rising up to help the re-persecuted. Life Raft partners with these churches to provide food, shelter and education to the re-persecuted. You can read more about these efforts here: http://liferaftinternational.org/blog/how-refugees-conquer-fear-through-education

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