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Patrick Johnstone with Dean Merrill - Serving God in a Migrant Crisis

Malcolm Down Publishing, ISBN 9 781910 786 56 7, 126 pages, £9.99

The year 2016 has been full of harrowing images of migrants on the move from the Middle East, Africa and Asia to Europe. Many have braved a precarious sea crossing, in boats that are hardly seaworthy, navigated by those who have no other motivation than profit.

The horror of these refugees was perhaps most poignantly underlined by the death of three-year-old Kurdish boy Alan Kurdi from Syria. The photo of him face down, drowned in the foaming Mediterranean has become a defining moment in the public perception of the crisis. Patrick Johnstone, of Operation World fame has produced a very helpful, simple book to help Christians think about how we should respond. 

This is done in three sections: What’s Going On – What To Know – What To Do.  This well-researched book provides a useful snapshot of what is going on, it seeks to adjust our perceptions about refugees (this section includes the reminder that, Jesus was a refugee), and gives a number of practical suggestions on how we can do something.

One very simple idea is: putting together a welcome pack for a migrant family moving into our area. Another is the wise suggestion that we might want to listen to the new arrivals and learn from them before we try to do anything else.

Not every church or Christian will be in a community that attracts lots of refugees but with so many false perceptions continuing around this pressing issue, it’s a useful book for everyone to read.

John Woods

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