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Lady Liberty: A REACH Update

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By Daniel and Danae, Team Eurasia

Daniel and his wife Danae are leading the REACH Eurasia Team, currently working at a refugee camp in Greece. The following excerpt is a reflection on a few of their experiences and encounters.

In the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century, my ancestors sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in pursuit of liberty. They were welcomed by the sight of Lady Liberty herself, The Statue of Liberty in New York, New York. Today there are thousands of refugees who are also in pursuit of the same liberty that my ancestors gained hundreds of years ago. These refugees are also welcomed by the sight of Lady Liberty… but the Lady Liberty located in Mytilini Greece! Every day we drive past the Statue of Liberty (pictured above) on our way to the Moria Refugee camp. Moria is the first stop in Europe for the thousands of refugees fleeing from war-torn countries in the Middle East and Africa. These refugees are being detained for months until they get processed to move onto mainland Greece, Europe, or America, waiting for Liberty.

We have the opportunity to serve them and listen to their stories while we work in the camp these next three weeks. After being here for one week, I’ve already heard stories from kids about how the Taliban invaded their homes and murdered their cousins, I have watched helplessly as a dead body was removed from a tent in camp, and I have heard about the fear of ISIS that many of the Syrians carry. Even though there is a lot of darkness and distress, the light takes over the darkness. I met an Iraqi teenager who is a Follower and we were able to share our hope. I’ve seen the joy of families as they finally received their paperwork and can move into a hotel in Mytilini or move to mainland Greece. I’ve seen and been a part of the body who intercedes, feeds, and loves those who are “the least of these.” Lady Liberty may be the hope for freedom in this world, but may we as the body point to the everlasting hope, a hope and freedom that is much greater than just a finite life here on earth.

“It’s absolutely incredible how many of the people I see every day, who have lost everything, still have the ability to smile, laugh, and invite me in to have tea and share life with them!”We arrived on the island of Lesvos last Friday night, settling in the town of Mytilini. Though I had done some research about Camp Moria and had seen several pictures, I was still unprepared to walk into the camp and see the astonishing number of tents/containers that house over 4,000 refugees with more coming in every week. It’s hard to prepare your heart and mind to see so many people who are living in what seems like a hopeless situation. Despite the difficulty in seeing their situation, it has been an amazing opportunity to work with people from places like Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Nigeria and so many more.

When we arrived we were able to volunteer to work in one of three areas in the camp. Family Compound, Clothing, or Information. Since Family Compound is what I have been working in the most, I’ll talk a little about that. The camp has several different gated levels and the levels are divided based on nationality. People may not enter a level without an ID card that shows their name and level on it. One of the main jobs in Family Compound is to guard the gate. If someone wants to come in but does not have an ID card or their ID card says the wrong level, we may not let them in. We also help to distribute meals. Apart from guarding the gate and distributing food, working on the levels is a wonderful opportunity to build relationships with the refugees. There are several families that I have gotten to know and it has become a routine to go and visit and have tea with them at some point on my shift. Last night they also shared some amazing food with me. Speaking of sharing, these people are some of the most generous people I have ever met. Whether it’s offering tea, giving an apple, sharing their food, or inviting you into their tiny blanketed corner of a housing container, they are constantly wanting to share the little that they have. It’s absolutely incredible how many of the people I see every day, who have lost everything, still have the ability to smile, laugh, and invite me in to have tea and share life with them!

How amazing that my Father is using little ol’ me to interact and share His love with people from all over the world who are searching for hope. Please be lifting us up to our Father as we have been given this opportunity to share hope and love that can change their lives.

Please pray for peace and protection for Team Eurasia as they serve amidst the unrest in this camp. Pray that they continue to learn and love with the many hurting people at Moria.

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