Welcome to Grand-Synthe Camp

Welcome to Dunkirk's Grand-Synthe migrant camp!

Grand-Synthe camp, Dunkirk, France.

Some 2,500 people now live at Grand-Synthe, France. They are refugees from Syria, Iraq and the Middle East. About 50 more arrive daily. Often, these are families with children, elderly, and pregnant women. Daily, some try to leave for Belgium or England. These people have no prospects in France.

Grand-Synthe camp at Dunkirk, France

Notice the careful provisions to ensure hygienic conditions in order to ward off disease. Also, see the solid construction which protects the population from temperatures that often slide below freezing at night.

Maintaining 'order,' whatever the 'orders' are.
French Gendarmerie, presumably maintaining ‘order,’ whatever that ‘order’ is.

‘The Lord protects the strangers; he supports the fatherless and the widow’ [Ps 146:9].

5 year old Iranian boy
A well-protected, 5 year old Iranian boy.

‘Yahweh loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his lovingkindness’ [Ps. 33:5]. ‘Vindicate the weak and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and destitute’ [Psa 82:3].

A young girl from Kurdistan leaves her tent in a muddy field called the Grande-Synthe jungle.
A young girl from Kurdistan leaves her tent in a muddy field called the Grande-Synthe jungle.

The Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted and justice for the poor’ [Ps 140:12].

Many a missions conference and/or prayer meeting has spoken to the need to send missionaries to convert the heathen. Today, peoples of the world beat on our doorstep. And our response to a crisis embracing some 60 million people? Or the response of our Presidential hopefuls?

Where are those who are separated unto the Lord in all this? Do they intercede for refugees? Speak for them in their plight? Are the separated truly ‘separate,’ or do they too often mirror the interests of our dominant culture? What is it to ‘maintain the cause of the afflicted’ anyway?

14 thoughts on “Welcome to Grand-Synthe Camp”

  1. ahhhh man, I wanted the butt
    cushion. Well maybe next time. It always seemed to me growing up in a IFB church, that fundamentalist only cared about missions for “saving people .” Their was once a big discussion in my church growing up about a missionary to Mexico, and how he was not being a good IFB missionary because he set up and orphanage.

    1. Dear Adam F:

      Thank you for this, and welcome to SFL! The situation you witnessed is curious. Presuming it was well-run, that orphanage may have dine more to make God’s kingdom visible than anything the church did. Blessings!

    1. Dear Mad dog:

      Two points on your question. 1] We’ve not heard the word on that one yet. 2] You may not want to hold your breath as you wait for that answer.

      But you’re invited to wait for it with us. Welcome to SFL! Blessings!

    1. Nope, I can’t recall a similar banquet being done to feed and house people.

      I do recall having the opportunity to donate a turkey to a Thanksgiving giveaway, and teachers/bus captains would sometimes use their own money to buy kids’ necessities. But nothing as grand as the ANNUAL building fundraisers. Not even close.

      But I am sure they really love having the modern coffee shop, book store, restaurant, gym, extra space, etc.

    2. Dear AmazedbyGrace:

      Methinks this is called a ‘ministry to a building.’ This is a curious practice for ‘New Testament’ churches since ‘church’ buildings were not a part of the story for the first 300 years.

      ‘…where your treasure is, there your heart will be also’ [Mt 6:21; Lu 12:34].

      Telling. Isn’t it. Oh, and thanks for the link! It reminds me that I need to incorporate a ‘Blast from the Past’ feature into this…


  2. This very thing started the ball rolling for my exit out of IFB. At first, after leaving, I was jaded from all churches, because I thought they were all like that. My ignorance came from only knowing fundy churches. Thankfully, I found out they were not.

    Then, I discovered programs like Operation Inasmuch, and I distinctly remember shouting, “Yes!” at the computer.

  3. I have gone on record, publicly, in several places that I would be the first to welcome a Syrian refugee family to our church for any kind of help they needed. The only one who gave me a bad time was my elderly father, and he lost his soul to Trump long ago.

    If someone doesn’t appear at church, I’ll probably be looking for them. I have volunteered with refugee families from a number of different countries over the years.

    Every wave of refugees has usually brought great blessings to the US. For example, the Vietnamese refugees who settled in San Jose thirty-five years ago revitalized whole run-down neighborhoods on the east side of the city. I just don’t get the xenophobia.

    Any, not to be too snarky, don’t these churches need some people to fill those beautiful new buildings (after all the former members see the truth and leave)?

    1. Dear Linn:

      Thank you for this. I’ve worked with refugees myself [English Second Language, citizenship preparation, etc.]. You meet some wonderful people doing this excellent work. Blessings!

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