OU Professor Works With Refugee Camp in Germany

December 09, 2015

An Olivet University professor is volunteering at a refugee camp in Germany, which has been seeing a steady stream of refugees since the summer of 2015.

Professor Dr. Mark Wagner and his wife Carrie, began working with a camp in the town of Bornheim, between Bonn and Cologne, one of the many arrival refugee camps that was set up in August 2015.

In March of this year, Germany was estimating 300,000 refugees for 2015. Currently, the estimations are up to 1.5 million for the year. Most of the incoming refugees are from Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, Afghanistan or Albania. Once they arrive, they are placed in refugee camps for two weeks to three months in order to register them. Then they are placed into one of the many towns, villages or cities across Germany where they begin the application process to becoming recognized refugees. If they are from Syria, they most likely will receive a long-term refugee status. Those from Albania are usually sent back.

At the camp in Bornheim, the Wagners are helping with the clothing distribution, setting up the initial German classes and coordinating the volunteer force.

Dr. Mark Wagner stated, “Learning the language is key for the refugees to get a job in Germany. It also lays the foundation for a successful integration.”

Together with the local church and a local humanitarian help organization, the Wagners have been able to share the love of Christ in practical ways. Currently, they are working on setting up a multi-cultural center that will serve as a meeting point for refugees, house German classes and provide individual trauma counseling for refugees.

Wagner went on to state, “This is a unique opportunity for Christians in Germany to reach out and share the love of Christ with the many refugees. Most of the people have been displaced by war and economic hardships. Our hope is to introduce them to the gospel by sharing God’s love with them in practical ways. Please pray for us, that we can continue to be a beckon of light for them as they arrive in Germany and begin a new life.”

Mark and Carrie Wagner live in Bornheim, Germany. Mark serves at the Zinzendorf School of Doctoral Studies at Olivet University.

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