This was my moment.
Last night during our midnight shift we had some excitement. While two team members were in the town they heard boats arriving. They hurried back to camp but nobody showed up. We waited up till 3am but then shut off the lights for the night. Six of us ended up pulling cots out of the tent and slept under the stars. Usually at 3am I am ready for bed but I could not stop thinking and praying. A song by United Pursuit kept running through my head as I tried to sleep. The lyrics are “we can run straight into your arms unafraid, cuz every time we need you we’re met by love”. I’ll come back to this later. Most of us got about 3 hours sleep on our night shift and all gathered at the front gate at 6 am to watch boats.
While watching the boats with binoculars I could see multiple boats. In these waters now if you are on the Greek half of the water, you are home free but if you are on the Turkey side, and the Turkish coast guard comes upon you they will drag you back to Turkey and you will most likely get tossed in jail. This is why most boats depart while it is still fairly dark. In the distance I could see some boats being greeted by Greek coast guards – how awesome! However, I also got to see a boat get intercepted by the Turkish coast guards. As I watched them get dragged back to what they were trying to escape, my heart dropped. How could they do this? Why would they?
When we got the call that a boat had arrived and they were bring the refugees to our camp, I was excited. I am not excited they are in this situation but I am so excited to be light in this part of their journey for them. We all got to our stations and I was on the clothing tent. This means I was to identify if people needed new clothes and if so, get them. How perfect – I love to shop. Kidding – kind of.. As the first refugees turned the corner into the waiting area, my heart broke. These were my brothers and sisters. They had nothing but the clothes on their backs and a plastic bag. I was beyond overwhelmed with emotions I do not know how to explain. In that moment I needed to put that behind me and just get ready to be that warm smile, hug and serve them well. As I interacted with them I saw hope. Hope for a better life. Instead of handing out clothes I brought out a few soccer balls and in a matter of seconds everyone was playing. The joy on the kids faces was contagious. The team at the end of the shift had to drag me out but sweet mercies did I learn a lot. This was my moment.
As a Christian with a Canadian passport I can run straight into the arms of the Father, my country, my family unafraid and I will be met by love. My prayer is that the refugees will eventually have this. That their families will find safety soon, that they will find a place to call home and that through all the love they experience they too in time will run straight into His arms.