Peace and Safety
Before going to Sikamineas, Kim (our leader here) told us about how the camp works and gave us instructions for the different positions we would have while there. He kept stressing how we were creating a place that was different from the world they came from. A place of calm and safety. A place of peace. We were their first welcome to Europe. I was at the front gate, so that was really my main job – welcoming. Offering a smile. Saying, “Salaam.” Helping them if needed. It doesn’t feel like a very big role, but when I think of what they had been through over the last months and years, it is significant. Their lives back home were bad enough that they are leaving a country they love, their friends, possibly other family, houses and jobs, and risking a journey through unknown places, over open water (where many die) for the hope of a better life. By the time they reached us, they have been swindled and mistreated. Then they arrive at our camp. And you can see it in their faces – some are full of joy that they survived the water, and they are hugging and kissing everyone. Other faces are very flat and solemn and sad. And then you wonder why. Especially when the kids look so very sad. But we greeted them with smiles. Offer food, water, shelter, safety. And we should be different than where they came from. God calls us to love the homeless and hungry, share our food with them, help those who need it most. That is when our light shines. Isaiah 58:6-12, Matthew 25:31.