Work in Dalarna, Sweden.
In 2015, over 161,000 asylum seekers crossed the border into Sweden - at one point in October/November there were 10,000 per week entering the country.
This overstretched the nation's ability to process, house, absorb and integrate applicants - and by year end the country decided to try to ‘close the doors’ for new arrivals.
In December, our city, Borlänge, the city council asked YWAM Dalarna (and others) to help volunteer at an emergency shelter that was designed to give 3-5 day housing for newcomers. 50 people, including women and children, were placed in beds around the wall in a warehouse with two showers and portable toilets. Hot food was brought in daily and we were asked to help serve meals as well as make the newcomers feel welcome.
These families ended up staying three weeks in this place before being moved to better housing (typically in old bed’n’breakfast hotels).Staff from YWAM Dalarna, together with local churches, rose to the challenge and helped make breakfast and a YWAM school from Norway came for 2 weeks to serve and play with the children.
When the emergency shelter was finally closed we were able to meet some of our friends in new accommodation in nearby towns. Most of the people are waiting 6-9 months before having an interview, and have nothing to do during the long weeks of ‘waiting’ The doors opened to working alongside local churches in their efforts to reach out with the ‘international café’ and other initiatives. We are able to come and talk to the refugees in a safe environment away from the ears of others that did not like them talking to Christians. Those that have their own family apartments even invite our teams home after the café closes.