Serving in Lesvos, Greece – Part 1 of 6

I am sure all of you have seen or heard about the Syrian refugee crisis, either on TV, in the newspaper, from social media, or over the radio. Syria’s civil war is the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. Half the country’s pre-war population — more than 11 million people — have been killed or forced to flee their homes. Currently, there are 4,844,111 registered Syrian refugees. Between April 2011 and March 2016 there have been 1,004,345 Syrian asylum applications in Europe. Hundreds of thousands of refugees are attempting the dangerous trip across the Mediterranean Sea from Turkey to Greece, hoping to find a better future in Europe. Not all of them make it across alive. Those who do make it to Greece still face steep challenges — resources are strained by the influx and services are minimal. Things are shifting, but no one knows for certain what will happen next. It is a complicated matter, so I have included a few recent articles at the bottom of this post which I think are helpful in painting a picture of what is currently going on.

In 2014 I went on my first mission trip and my life was changed forever. Since that first trip, I have now worked in 10 different countries all over the world. As a Christian, I wholeheartedly believe John 3:16-17- “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” My response to this is a deep desire to love and serve other people whenever and however possible. No matter what your religious beliefs may be, I think we can all agree that there are certain times when it is very obvious that a place and a people need help. In our generation, the Syrian Refugee Crisis is one of those instances.

From July 31st 2016 to September 1st 2016 I will be living in Lesvos, Greece serving the refugees there. I will be partnering with an organization I have already done a lot of work with called YWAM or Youth With A Mission. I will be staying on a YWAM ship called ‘Next Wave’ that is currently docked in the port. The practical description of what I will be involved with, as described by YWAM, is as follows:

“At the moment, our work on the island comprises two different projects: The Skala Sykaminia camp, which is one of the front-line camps on the island, and the Moria camp – recently become detention centre. This is where the refugees are currently held until brought mainland or returned to Turkey. The work entails hosting refugees in the camps, feeding them, clothing them, and even having some time to relationally minister to them. We run a tea, clothing, and food tent within the camp. There is as well a family compound which acts as a safe centre for families, single women, and minors. Recently we have been starting up different language classes for the refugees as well.We are also very connected to the local church in Mytilini, who operates a small community centre for refugees.”
I won’t really know anything more until I am actually there. What I do know though is that I feel called to go and help, and I am willing to do whatever best assists the Syrian refugees and those providing aid for them. I am so grateful to everyone who has partnered with me for this outreach through any and every form of support given, and am I so grateful to God for this opportunity to serve. I will do my best to provide weekly updates while I am there, so please stay tuned and continue to pray over the whole Syrian refugee crisis.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” – 2 Peter 1:3
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