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: