Back in Greece: Refugee Camps
I am safe in Greece!
I arrived yesterday afternoon and went straight to Diavata, a new camp that opened up within the last two weeks! I am still processing through all of the stories that I heard yesterday and the unspeakable things that I witnessed. I can already tell that my experience this time is going to be far different than the last, which is phenomenal because I can tell that my level of understanding and deep-rooted sense of urgency regarding this crisis is compelling me further that I could have ever imagined.
I have extremely disheartening news: The border of Greece/Macedonia is officially closed. For those of you who have been keeping up with what I have been sharing, you can slightly understand the weight of this. This means that close to a million people are ‘stuck’ in Greece with nowhere to turn back to and nowhere to advance forward. Idomeni, the border camp I served in 2 weeks ago (which had thousands of refugees moving through, with only about 25 ‘stuck’) now has 15,000+ refugees stuck, sleeping in flimsy tents in the mud and not getting food or the basic help they need. This is a historical humanitarian crisis. Please google “Greece/Macedonia refugee camp” and look at the images. Even now, buses full of people are continuing to come in. The new camps are filling up as well.
Yesterday, I was able to help lead new arrivals to their tents. The living conditions in the camps are far less than ideal, with literal urine and feces covering the floor of the tents. Imagine arriving to a place where you will likely spend the next months (and possibly years) and that is the place you are given. Prayer partners, the conditions for these refugees are beyond what I can explain here. I will be working on writing stories and sharing individual experiences as I get the chance. The days are long in the camps, working into the night and constantly assisting the refugees in their various needs. They are brimming with questions, all have different needs that cannot be met due to resources, and are all walking around with stories that go far beyond anything that you or I could possibly fathom. The heart is heavy as I hear stories that never fail to pierce me to the innermost parts.
I am really connecting with several of the refugees, especially the Syrian and Afghans. Please continue to pray for my Farsi and Arabic to continue growing so that I can communicate. Yesterday, I was able to bring smiles to faces and cry with those that mourn and even had the opportunity to proclaim to the gospel to a Syrian man who’d been shot by a sniper and has “Lost all sense of hope”.
The harvest is so ripe.
*This post was contributed by a field worker on the ground in Greece