Matthew 25 coming alive!
Well, we made it through our first day on the island of Lesvos. After a quick orientation last night, we all grabbed a few hours of sleep. After all the travel, sleep was a gift!
Our first meeting of the day was set to begin at 9:30am this morning, but we were eager to get up and start the day. Well, that may be a little bit of an exaggeration. I kind of made everyone get up early. ☺ A couple of hours before our meeting we took time to walk around the shores close to our hotel to pray together.
From our hotel window we can see directly across to the shoreline of Turkey. They say the shortest distance from Turkey to the island of Lesvos is 6kms. This 6-10km trek(depending on the route) is the distance that many refugees travel on an almost daily basis. Though we weren’t serving any refugees today, we felt a strong tug to pray for all those who might be crossing the waters. After being here for only 24 hours, we have heard countless stories of the treacherous and frightening journeys most of these refugees make. The weather was very cold today and the wind strong, so we prayed mostly that God would keep these travellers in Turkey so they wouldn’t have to battle through an already difficult voyage.
The rest of our morning was spent in orientation. Our Euro Relief team leader Kim walked us through Matthew 25 as a set up to our time here. Please take the time today to read Matthew 25:31-46. Kim reminded us that we serve a great God who wants us to care for and love others who need it most with action. He also helped us to see that every part of this passage – feeding the hungry and thirsty, caring for the stranger, giving out clothes, having compassion for the sick, and visiting the prisoner – would be a part of our experience this week. Kim is very wise, has a deep love for Jesus, is compassionate to all those he meets and has seen a lot the past number of years here in Greece. Hearing him share inspired each of us to say, “Lord, whatever you have for us, we will do it!”
After lunch, we went on a brief tour of the northwestern part of the island. We were able to see where some of the refugees land and what their process is in finding shelter and help. We also visited, “the graveyard.” No, this isn’t a spot for people, but rather a dump site for literally thousands and thousands of lifejackets. I‘ve attached a picture of it below. Seeing that many lifejackets was one thing, but realizing that each of those lifejackets represented the life of someone fleeing great danger was staggering. Though my mind knows these events in Greece to be true, my heart is having a harder time comprehending all that is happening here.
We then went into the city of Mithymna. It was here Kim showed us some of the boats the refugees had travelled in and where some of these boats had landed. In one of these ripped up boats I saw a shoe and a child’s stuffed animal that had seen better days. The Lord reminded me in that moment how important all the full-time workers here in Lesvos are. They care so deeply for each person trying to find a better life. Man, woman, or child – it makes no difference. They are here to serve and help as best they can. Our team is grateful to serve under the leadership of these amazing individuals.
Following a great supper meal, our team spent some time telling personal stories and worshiping the Lord together with music. I suppose that should come as no surprise! ☺
As you think of us over the next two days, please pray for us. The weather here on the island is making it hard for us to get to where we need to go and serve. We have already had snow (watching a Greek drive in snow is like watching someone from Arizona drive in snow – very scary and something you only want to watch on You Tube) and as of right now at 1am, our serving day that was originally supposed to start at 6:45am is now pushed to 3pm and may be delayed even further. We totally know that God is good and He is in control. We truly are certain of that. No matter what the next 24 hours hold, please pray we hear from the Lord, are content in doing anything asked of us, and that we’d serve with great joy.
Thanks for reading our update. We’ll post something again soon! Thanks for praying,