We started our day by looking out over the water and praying for those coming across from Turkey. The water was calm and the sun was warm. There was a hopeful feel to the day. While we watched and prayed we counted 8 boats making there way across. It was going to be a busy one in the camps!
Today some of our crew were blessed with being able to help out at the Sikamineas camp. The few chosen to go headed out just after lunch. Later in the afternoon Dallas and I had the opportunity to ride along with Kim to do a water and food run to those serving in camp. Kim does such a great job of instructing and caring for his volunteers and we are so blessed to be under his guidance. After we offloaded the water, delivered some food and said hello to our team Dallas and I had some time to mingle with some of the people in camp. My first interaction was with Hmad from Afghanistan. He had travelled 35 days with his wife, 3 kids (under 5), brother and sister-in-law to reach European shores with the goal of settling in Germany. His travels had covered hundreds of miles and brought his family through many dangerous scenarios, risking it all to make it here. To say that he was relieved and grateful to make it to this camp would be an incredible understatement. I cannot imagine putting myself in Hmad’s shoes. This encounter has reminded me of the humanity of this crisis. In some ways Hmad’s life parallels my own; father with three young children who desperately wants to protect and care for his family. But more than that, Hmad is created in God’s very image; the Father deeply cares for him and his family – as Christ followers should we not do the same? I believe that I have been changed today, but ‘the proof will be in the pudding’. My encounter with Hmad has certainly left me with a face and a name to be fervently praying for.
As I left Hmad by telling him that I would pray for him and his family some more migrants from Afghanistan were just entering camp. Dallas and I made our way into the common area with a soccer ball and it took about, hmmm… 2 seconds for the kids to pack in around us and a football match ensued! It was beyond words fun and incredibly rewarding to let loose and play with these kids. Amongst the laughter and hi-fives I felt great purpose in being here. I was only in the camp but 45 minutes today, but the experience has left me richer and more passionate about what Jesus is calling me to.
I thank God that we could be used to extend His love in this way today and I recognize that these brief moments are gifts. Every water bottle given out, meal served, medical aid given, bed offered, conversation made and smile displayed by our crew is literally Matthew 25 (love) in action. Sadly not all stories from the day ended well. Just this evening we caught news that 12 people who had been coming across from Turkey have drowned and 10 more have yet to be found. God help them. When I heard this I instantly saw the faces of Hmad and his family. Beyond words.
Perhaps now more then ever before my resolve points solely to Jesus as hope and life in this incredibly battered and scarred world. There are great stories of faith coming from this tragedy; stories of people encountering Jesus and experiencing real life and peace! Please pray for our crew, that they would be filled with strength and power as they love on the hurting and desperate people that pass through the camp. Pray that those migrants and refugees that show up on our watch would see Jesus.