In 2015 Germany opened its borders to take in Syrian refugees fleeing from the civil war in their homeland. Countless Syrians arrived, but so did many others, with over one million people—most of them from various Muslim countries—arriving within months. While the German population initially had welcomed the refugees, popular sentiment changed. This caused the government to backpedal and start sending away as many migrants as possible. This practice continues in 2022.
The best way to be granted residency here in the Land of the Reformation is to be “integrated” by learning German and getting baptized. You see, if a Muslim converts to Christianity, it is difficult for the German government to extradite that person because the authorities know that, depending on where the homeland is, he or she might be executed for converting. Last week I attended a court hearing for a relatively new Christian I know. His request for a residence permit had been denied by a federal court, which claimed he had converted only for the sake of “integration.” Sadly, this man had a poor experience at his first church, which he left. Yet he wanted to remain a Christian. Fortunately, he discovered a faithful Lutheran (SELK) congregation, where he learned about the “forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation” found in the Sacrament of the Altar. The judge recognized that a new circumstance had arisen, so now it sent him back to the federal court which, we pray, will reverse its decision. Please pray for this situation (and the thousands just like it). Living in legal limbo is tough for anyone—also for our new brothers and sister in Christ. And yet, amazingly, God allows us to “rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).