This article is a continuation of Refugees in Thailand: Real people with real lives

The Data

To understand the real situation of Christian refugees, let’s first take a look at some of the data used for our research:

  • Pakistani Christian Population in Thailand: about 3000 people
  • Research sample: 50 families, representing about 250 people.
  • Passport Status: In average 65% of those that were interviewed have their passport expired.
  • Average Income per capita per month: 620 bahts (US$17).
  • Level of employment: all of the interviewed families had at least one person that had an informal occupation in Thailand.
  • Children in School: None of the children in school age are registered in local schools.
  • Reason for migration: 100% of the interviewed fled to Thailand looking for the resettlement UN program.

The refugee situation can be summarized in two words: fear and desolation. Because of the current situation in Thailand, families have had to hide at home, with very little social interaction and surviving mainly on donations of non-profits or churches, or spending their last savings, that was originally set aside to help them restart their lives once they had resettled.

Virtually all of the families are currently living in 170 square feet rooms with no furniture. Generally, these dormitories have a small hallway with access to a bathroom. These hallways are used as the kitchen.

Due to the high temperatures in Bangkok, poor nutrition and high stress is a widespread scenario amongst the adult population.

Children and teenagers have access to Thai public schools, however, they end up not going to class because their parents don’t feel safe in taking them to school and being approached by the local police and taken into custody. Another factor that discourages these families is the lack of perspective for a long-term establishment in Thailand. Many families are unable to see the language learning process as something of worth.

The interviewed families have been in Thailand for an average of 4 years waiting to be resettled. Because of this, many have said that they have run out of financial resources that were kept aside for emergency which turns their situation even more vulnerable. However, through some active Christian organizations, whenever an extreme need have been rise have been met.

Another big issue is the renewal of the Pakistani Passport. Unfortunately because of persecution against Christians at the Pakistani embassy in Bangkok no refugee is able to renew their passport. Employees of the embassy have informed them that they are only able to go through the renewal process if it is started from within Pakistan.

What is the role of UNHCR?

UNHCR is the destination of every asylum seeker as soon as they arrived in Thailand. Four years ago the asylum seeking process was done considerably faster – within two years refugees were accommodated in a resettlement program. Due to their initial efficiency, the number of requests leaped from 700 to 17000 in December 2015. The high demand has resulted in a long waiting time for interview scheduling. Currently, the estimated time from the first request until the settlement can last as long as two or three years.

According to local sources, there have been clear indications of religious persecution against Christians within UNHCR. In regards to the Pakistani a practical problem identified is that all of the translators provided by the local office are Muslims and therefore they end up interpreting the requests based on their personal perspectives. For instance, instead of translating “persecution” to persecution they will translate persecution as discrimination which may change completely their judgment.

What am I supposed to do about this?

We believe that the role of every Christian is to respond and follow the Words said by Jesus.

“…To love God above all things and to love our neighbor as ourselves”. – Mt 22:36-40

The love of God is extended to everyone, regardless of their origin or background. He has created all nations and cultures and loves them.

When we align ourselves with God’s love, we surpass our own personal barriers. It is easier to shut out and not engage, many times we ignore the issues in the world because they seem to be so far away. But we believe that as Christians God has given us His Living Word that is capable of changing mindsets and transforming circumstances.

In Matthew 25:35-40, there is no doubt about the level of love that we should have.

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I WAS STRANGER AND YOU INVITED ME IN,
I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. (…)

It is our prayer that together we will be the Answer to our brothers and sisters in Thailand and Pakistan. There are many ways you can respond:

  1. Engage in prayer: Take 5 minutes to pray for those that are fleeing persecution in Pakistan, that they might find resolution in Thailand and that God would strengthen them and their families.
  2. Donate: your donation is a sign to those in need that you care and that they matter. It is a way to respond with our finances and make a statement to those around us.
  3. Share with your friends: Being constantly bombarded with bad news has numbed our ability to feel the burden of those around the world that are being persecuted for their faith. But we can make a difference and share not simply about their challenges but how so many of these refugees have kept their faith in Christ and their love for one another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BRAZIL | Colombo – PR | Headquarters

MORE’s Global Headquarter is located in Colombo, in the state of Paraná in Southern Brazil. From this location we coordinate international projects and provide support to our missionaries.

In Colombo, MORE has a Mission Training School, that is focused on equipping Christians that have the calling to go into missions and help the Suffering Church. MORE also hosts refugees that are unable to stay in their countries due to religious persecution or war.

 

Uganda

In operation since August 2014, MORE Uganda has helped run an ESL School in partnership with a Norwegian organization Refugee Alliance. MORE’s team visits periodically refugee resettlement camps providing support and identifying best ways to implement development projects

 

Southeast Asia

MORE Southeast Asia’s efforts are focused on refugee assistance and resettlement and community development initiatives with local Christians. Our base provides support and refuge to Christians of surrounding nations that are undergoing persecution.

 

Middle East

MORE Middle East started in 2014 with the goal to strengthen the suffering church in the region and to provide support to christians fleeing persecution and looking for refuge. 

MORE has small business initiatives aimed at helping Christians find work and dignity. There is also a dental and medical clinic for the community. MORE’s missionaries do on going visits to nearby refugee camps to provide discipleship and relief. 

 

USA

MORE USA started in 2016 with the purpose to raise awareness about the suffering church with the american church and to build partnerships that will help support MORE’s global projects.

Nepal

MORE Nepal works in partnership with other organizations and local churches. Our team is located in Kathmandu, the capital and visits the interior of the country periodically. MORE’s work has been concentrated mainly in the provinces of Dolakha and Sindhupalchok, which were deeply affected by the 2015 Earthquake.Nosso objetivo é desenvolver projetos que visem à recuperação da agricultura de subsistência – principal fonte de renda destas populações. A partir deste trabalho será possível promover meios de geração de renda para os camponeses por meio do comércio e exportação.

The goal for this location is to develop projects with local farmers to recover their land and subsistence, which is their main source of incone. As a result of this work, MORE believes we will be able to provide more income and support to the local communities.

Italy

Since early 2015 MORE Italy has been providing support to refugee resettlement projects and working alongside the Italian church. MORE Italy’s director has been working with refugee initiatives since 2011.

Our goal is to raise awareness amongst the Italian church to the reality of the Suffering church and the refugees that are arriving at the Italian shores daily.

Haiti

MORE started as a response to the Haiti earthquake in 2010. After the emergency aid that was provided, MORE started it’s base with the focus to develop mid and long term recovering projects around the nation in partnership with local Haitian churches.

MORE Haiti has a Community Development School that is provided free of charge and is a training program to our Small Business initiatives which hold three core principles: financial investment, people development, and discipleship. Our program with those that want to participate in our school and small business initiatives lasts eighteen months. MORE Haiti also has ongoing projects with a local orphanage and a music school (REMIX School) .

Guinea Bissau

MORE Guinea Bissau is working in partnership with House Emanuel, a local orphanage. Our missionaries have been discipling and equipping teenagers and local children, many of which have never left the orphanage compound.

Colombia

More Colombia started in late 2014. Most of it’s efforts are related to Small Business initiative in the rural area. In partnership with local churches MORE has also been providing support to internally displaced refugees that are running away from guerrillas and the internal conflict that has been ongoing for decades.

 

Central Asia

MORE Central Asia is providing support to Christians that are suffering persecution due to local regimes. Our missionaries have been encouraging and discipling local leadership.

 

Sertão

In 2015, MORE started a new base in the northeastern region of Brazil in the deep drylands. In partnership with other missions, MORE has started small business initiatives to provide income and discipleship to families. As a result, a toy factory and a guitar factory are now in operation.