The relational work in Sweden.
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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. 

In another town a small group of Afghan / Iranian refugees began to come to an evangelical Lutheran fellowship, not understanding the language, but experiencing the love and Spirit of God in the place. About 20 from this group have decided to follow Jesus and about 15 have been baptized in local churches. The church called out to YWAM to help disciple the new believers and we have begun a weekly bible study group in Dari/Farsi language.

It has been exciting and encouraging to hear the testimony of these new believers and the miracles that they have experienced. One woman, who was illiterate, was given a song sheet in Dari at church, and she looked at it in amazement as she could suddenly understand the text! God had given her a “download" of her own language! Her husband was amazed and could not initially believe his. Now she is reading Bible texts in church.

Many have seen visions or miracles of Jesus along the refugee highway and can testify to His protection of them in times of danger.

YWAM Dalarna has received teams from Skien Norway, Biarritz, Herrnhut, and Newcastle Australia as well as volunteers from Malaysia and Switzerland. They have been able to make friends with our asylum seekers as well as encourage and help the local churches - both in practical work, youth groups and evangelism.

Many of our refugee friends look forward to seeing more international YWAMers visit and, as I write this, several Iraqi friends are very close to deciding to follow Jesus as Lord and saviour.

Prayer Requests:
1. Teams! We want to see groups come to support the programs we carry out. We have many opportunities for teams to come for a minimum of two weeks, to discover God’s eternal plan being revealed to these people.
2. Stronger relationships with migrants and refugees.
3. Salvation through Bible studies and worship and relationship building.
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