Light and Hope
Today was tiring but good and it is late and I ended up with the laptop so I will just put up a quick blog for people so everyone back home is caught up with our team.
We have returned back from our second 24-hour shift at Scala-Sikamenia Camp just a few hours ago. We are beat. We are dirty. We were hungry, but Lefteras (Lefty) took care of that with another wonderful meal at his Orfeas Hotel!
In case it is hard for you to follow along, we are based out of Molivos, which is a lovely village with a castle on the top of the hill. From here we go one direction for 35 minutes on winding, narrow, mountainous hills and we end up in Scala. From Molivos, if we go the other direction an hour, still the same kinds of roads, we will be out at the main camp. We have now had 2 shifts at Scala camp and are about to head out in the morning for our 4th at the main camp.
Friday night to Saturday night we were out at Scala to cover the 24-hours shift needed to keep that camp up and running, in case refugees come to the beaches in that area. Typically, these days, the refugees are being intercepted in the water and taken strait to the main camp. However there is talk of making Scala an overflow, family camp but that is still not for sure.
While out at Scala a number of things need to be done, one of which is what I got to do today, beach cleanup. 6 of us headed out with Lighthouse volunteers to an actual lighthouse where a large number of rafts actually landed. Now the rafts, and life jackets and debris are littering the shores and need to be cleaned up in order for this place to once again be restored to the beautiful tourist destination it once was. I love this part of our mission, helping restoration to happen through creation care and through the witness of the beauty of Lesvos. I would definitely take my family back here for a holiday. There is hiking, biking, amazing art, culture and history not to mention the incredible food and amazing people! Did I mention it is a Greek island…..surrounded by water, filled with sun and refreshing sea air?! It is a gorgeous place!
Back to our shift work today. Back at the lighthouse we worked together with volunteers from Mexico, Spain, France, Germany, Denmark, Greece and the UK. We spent hours cutting up dinghy’s, making piles of materials and picking up and sorting trash (some was to be salvaged for crafts later). Our work was literally on and in the sea and we stopped for a moment before we left the beach today to pray for those that had lost their lives, those that made it safe and now are in unknown places and all those that are working to serve them. Our hearts were heavy as we paused and thought about the lives lost and the stories that were written on this shore. It is tragic and also amazing at the same time. Heidi likened it to the Colosseum in Rome as it was a place of such suffering and at the same time, such awe.
Now that we are fed and back in our rooms, we are getting ready for our next shift at the main camp in the morning. 6:30 we will meet for a quick breakfast collection and then we head out for our 1-hour commute, then we will meet another 25-30 volunteers for from EuroRelief who will take the 8:30-4:30 shift. Together we will read scripture, pray for the day and head to our various posts for the day- most likely the clothing tent, the family compound or the info tent. One way or another, we will be surrounded all day with the 3500+ guests staying at the camp. We will do what we can to make them smile, to help them feel dignified and loved and when given the chance we will serve them with the love of Jesus.