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LOVE HAS HANDS & FEET
REFUGEE MINISTRY IN THE BAVARIAN RHÖN
By Dan Dubbe
Dan & Tricia Dubbe serve in
Bischofsheim, Germany
And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye
shall not vex him (Leviticus 19:33). An interesting
aspect of our church ministry is working with refugees
from a rich assortment of countries. Twelve different
nationalities are represented in our church. Last year
we hosted an International Day and celebrated with
singing and testimonies from each nationality and
country of origin. The local paper published an article
about this event.

Our church is located in the northern part of Bavaria in lower Franconia, Germany. It
is in a rural and traditional setting. When the German government opened the doors
to the country with few restrictions in the beginning, multitudes of refugees flowed
in, primarily from Muslim countries. The government began to redirect refugees
to rural areas and established refugee homes. I was part of a group in our city who
helped with new arrivals and that allowed us direct contact with the refugees. Our
church has been open and receptive since the beginning to help these often desperate
people. We put on Christmas programs and other events for those in the homes.

Those who converted from Islam to Jesus have been primarily Iranians who fled their
country and came to Germany. There are Iranian Christian churches in the larger
cities in Germany. We have baptized those who have trusted Christ and endeavored
to disciple them. A young Iranian man has married a local German girl. Together,
they serve in our Iranian outreach and coordinate the translation and ministry to
the refugees.

Many times a refugee or a refugee couple has received a court order to leave the
country. We have gone to court with them as a witness and in each of the seven
recent cases, the appeals have been decided positively. At this point, we have not lost
a refugee.

In June 2019, as a church family, we decided to provide church asylum to an Iranian
family of three. They had received a letter of deportation and had no chance of
staying in Germany. The parents had trusted Christ in Iran and then fled to Europe.

Since the Middle Ages there has been a tacit agreement by the German government
(Remember Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame?) to allow people to enter
into church asylum to avoid the repression from the State. Our church heartily agreed
to help, providing a travel trailer on the church playground for living quarters and
providing all necessary living expenses, including medical and dental costs. They are
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not to leave the church property for 18 months until the case goes before a German court
to decide if they can stay in the country. Our people regularly give German lessons, have
activities, and fellowship with them. It has been amazing to see God’s hand provide for
the spiritual, emotional, and financial needs of this family through our church people,
from outside sources, and from friends.

This experience of helping refugees who cannot do anything in return has been a blessing
for our congregation and for me as well. Germans have been accused
of being xenophobic (having a fear of outsiders) and perhaps
there is a bit of truth in that. Our people, though, have
rallied behind our refugees and received them and
shown them the love of Jesus. It is true that love
has hands and feet!
There have been challenges over the years
since our arrival in 1991 in just working in
the German culture with its differences and
now in recent years with the 12 different
cultures with inherent language barriers,
tastes, preferences, and predispositions.

It is a reflection of God’s extreme love for
variety and for the nations. Our people—
including the refugees—look forward to
the day when all nations will be represented
before the throne of the Lamb and praise
Him forever. We are getting a little foretaste
now in our little corner of the world! W
Editor’s note: In a recent prayer letter the
Dubbes state that Church asylum has ended:
The Iranian family that lived on the church
property for almost a year and a half are now
in a refugee home awaiting the legal process for
residency in Germany. A German judge ruled
in their favor that they would not be deported
before a court hearing.

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