By Ken Camp
After his wife and son witnessed the plight of Syrian refugees firsthand during a mission trip to the Middle East, Rick Brown wrote the words and music to For the Refugee both as a petition to God and as a challenge to Christians.
“I view it as a prayer and as a call to the body of Christ,” said Brown, a layperson at The Heights Baptist Church in Richardson, Texas.
In part, For the Refugee says: “God help us, please, remember the refugee. Open our blinded eyes to see, And drive us to our knees, to pray for the least of these. … Give us hands and feet, and voices that will speak. Echoing your cry against injustice.”
Mission to the Middle East
During the summer, Bev and Reese Brown participated in a trip with e3 Partners, a Christian organization that sends short-term mission teams around the world. In this instance, the team delivered blankets, food and other supplies to Syrian refugees in the Middle East.
“As we visited with the people, our intention was to hear their story, tell our story and tell God’s story,” she said.
Her own faith story provided a connection point to the Syrians, because she committed her life to Christ in response to a sermon delivered by the son of a Syrian immigrant. As a child, she made a public profession of faith during an evangelistic crusade held at the high school football stadium in Greenville, Texas.
“I was overcome with the love of Christ for them,” she said of the refugees, nearly all of them from a Muslim background.
“Most were very receptive to hear the gospel,” she said.
Christ made himself known
She recalled an encounter with a mother and her 9-year-old daughter. The girl had become ill from drinking polluted water that damaged her kidneys, and she was swollen due to steroids doctors used to treat her.
“Her mother told her daughter we were praying for her to be healed,” she said. “Her daughter took my hand and turned to our interpreter. She said, ‘Tell her I have seen Jesus in a vision, and he said I would be healed.’ We came thinking we would introduce them to Jesus, only to find out Christ had already made himself known.”
After she returned to Texas and told her husband about her experiences among the Syrians, he wrote For the Refugee.
“Candidly, we are all refugees,” he said. “As Christians, we are aliens in this world. Our hope is in Christ.”
Although he is not a professional musician or experienced songwriter, he has participated in the music ministry at The Heights Baptist Church.
So, he contacted Josiah Warneking, one of the founders of Sixteen Cities, the church’s contemporary worship band. Warneking enlisted Emily Huffaker, a senior at Lucas Christian Academy, as lead vocalist and produced For the Refugee at a recording studio.
Greater Europe Mission, a Colorado-based missions organization, plans to use the song as the sound track to a video it is producing. Brown also is making the song available for other ministries to use, free of charge.
It is available for download on iTunes. Any proceeds from sales will be divided between refugee ministries of e3 Partners and Greater Europe Mission.