A short film about The Salvation Army's refugee response in Norway has been released as part of a joint project between the International Headquarters Communications Section and the Video Production Unit from the United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland. The film is the first of a number of releases due to be published online in the first few months of 2016. Together they will provide an overview of The Salvation Army's refugee response in Germany and Norway.
The footage is designed to be shared online to help Salvationists, friends and the general public have a better understanding of the Army's ministry to refugees and asylum seekers.
This first video, which can be seen here and accessed at the European Refugee Response section of The Salvation Army's international website (sar.my/europerefugees) introduces the viewer to Sam and Sara Roen, Salvation Army soldiers who help out at a food bank and drop-in centre at Raufoss Corps (church), about 100 kilometres north of Oslo.
The corps is relatively small, with a modest congregation meeting most weeks, but its impact within the local community is far in excess of its numerical status. Currently it engages with many refugees who have been given accommodation by the Norwegian Government in this rural town. Their needs are significant, and the financial allowance provided them by the government needs to be supplemented by other assistance. This is where the local corps, led by Captains Matthew and Rose Nanang, comes in. The corps provides food assistance as well as other intangible supports to refugees and their families awaiting the finalisation of their asylum seeking applications.
And, as one refugee is keen to explain, assistance is offered regardless of religion or background. 'It is human helping human,' he says.
For many of the refugees, having come from places like Iraq, Iran, Syria and Afghanistan, just surviving a Norwegian winter is a huge challenge. The offer of warm respite in the local Salvation Army hall is much appreciated and the sense of community is very strong within the corps and its outreach.
Sam and Sara arrived in Norway two years ago as Afghan refugees. The help and love they received from the Nanangs and their soldiers led to them accepting the invitation to become Christians and they are now taking their stand as Salvationists, working with other refugees. 'The first time we came to The Salvation Army we received love,' says Sam. 'We are going to spread this love forward, not keep it to ourselves.'
Report by IHQ Communications International Headquarters The latest information about The Salvation Army's refugee response and a secure online donation facility are on the IHQ website at sar.my/europerefugees This video can be downloaded for use in meetings via the IHQ Vimeo site (https://vimeo.com/154695911)