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Mission Musings


Migrant Life in Europe

by Previous Sadadzi

One challenge I faced when I first came to Germany was the language. After intensive German classes, I gained enough comprehension to communicate across different cultures. I work with migrant children from many cultures, and that has also helped me to learn German faster. Like the immigrants I work with, I too experienced a period of culture shock.

In addition, fellow migrants from Africa helped me learn how to survive in a foreign land. One of these friends, a teenager, first stayed in Italy when she came from Ghana, and her experiences were pretty sad. She was lonely and bullied on a regular basis. A lot of African women come to Europe with the hope of a better future, but most of them are illiterate. They cannot find employment. Some come without documentation and it’s not easy to acquire a visa.

Syrian refugees walk through Messstetten, Germany. They have applied for asylum in Germany and are awaiting word on the government’s decision.
Syrian refugees walk through Messstetten, Germany. They have applied for asylum in Germany and are awaiting word on the government’s decision. Photo: Paul Jeffrey

The church I work with is providing children’s programming so that kids can come and have fun in a place where they feel safe. While Christianity seems to be declining in Europe, this church is home for these migrants, a safe place where they feel happy and free.

An asylum seeker from Eritrea gazes out the window of a church-run shelter where he lives in Freudenstadt, Germany. He came to Europe via Sudan and Libya, crossing the Mediterranean to Italy.
An asylum seeker from Eritrea gazes out the window of a church-run shelter where he lives in Freudenstadt, Germany. He came to Europe via Sudan and Libya, crossing the Mediterranean to Italy. Photo: Paul Jeffrey

Everyone needs a place to call home, but these migrants, with inadequate documentation, live in fear of the unknown. They are not used to the Western notion of privacy and individualism, and they end up being so lonely, with no one to talk to because of the language barrier and the differences in their standard of living and lifestyle.

I feel these migrants are treated unjustly, especially those who immigrated for reasons other than war. This year’s priorities have been on refugees from the Middle East, not the migrants who are coming for economic reasons. I believe they should be treated the same—that hope should be given to all.

At the International Disaster Response training held by UMCOR in Freudenstadt, Germany, resources included Scriptures of many different faiths.
At the International Disaster Response training held by UMCOR in Freudenstadt, Germany, resources included Scriptures of many different faiths. Photo: KLAUS ULRICH ROF/EMK-OEFFENTLICHKEITSARBEIT

Many people across Europe have been reaching out to help immigrants when they arrive. I have seen this in Germany, and I have learned that, despite having different beliefs, we are still one people and we have a duty and purpose in this world to create the opportunities for a better life for our brothers and sisters. Hope is in their hearts. With one heart we can share the resources that God has given us.

Previous Sadadzi, a Global Mission Fellow from Zimbabwe, serves with International and Migrant Ministries in Germany, a United Methodist outreach to asylum seekers, migrants, and other residents with foreign backgrounds. Her work is primarily in the Frankfurt area.

Copyright New World Outlook magazine, September-October 2016 issue. Used by permission.