I recently traveled to Greece for a missions trip with my church. Our purpose was to lead an English camp for youth in the community, and to visit with Syrian Refugees. Yes, we did accomplish these things, but we also completed so much more! We established relationships through conversation with the community, church members, campers, and refugees. Check out some of my fun stories and pictures below!
We had the opportunity to meet and work alongside students from Black Forest Academy in Germany. Many of these students are MK’s (Missionary Kids), and have lived in many different countries, and in difficult circumstances. I admire their passion and commitment, and their desire to serve the Lord at such young ages. (Lol, I’m 18 you guys). Matthew and Katerina were the people I got closest to on this trip, and this picture captures their instant connection. They both have absolutely precious souls, and I love and miss them so much!
One of my favorite parts of this trip was getting to meet and interact with the refugees. Mahsa was a refugee, and was completely quiet and shut down until the last day of camp. Suddenly she sprang alive and started sharing all these stories, and asking tons of questions. Even though I only spent three days with her, it was a beautiful transformation to witness within her. She became social, independent, and chatty.
The refugees shared so many stories that shared the darkness from which they have fled from. Some boys in the camp showed us a bullet grazing on their neck from when they were shot at as they fled Syria. Others told stories of their ships sinking along with all of their possessions, and being stranded in the ocean. We heard about families being separated due to certain countries closing their borders to refugees, and not being able to contact one another.
These stories that I have been hearing in the news suddenly became real, with real names, real faces, real fears, and real needs. My heart tore open wide, and I discovered a passion for these people.
Colossians 1:13, “For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Going to Greece permanently opened my eyes to the joy that is possible in Christ. I rediscovered love for life, passion for people, and zeal for serving others. I realized that when I lock myself up, stay behind closed doors, and refrain from exploring the world, I leave myself cut off from discovering the fullness of God’s plan for me. I have re-allowed myself to dream big. For so long, I have told myself “no”. “No”, I can’t serve as a missionary full time. “No”, I am not capable of loving the children of God. “No”, I have to be perfect and have my act together to represent anyone. “No”, “No”, “No”. But I’m ready to say “yes”. Why not? I want to fuel my big dreams! Sure, desire to work with refugees locally. Yeah, pursue serving as a full-time missionary in Germany. Heck yes, embrace the unique individual I’ve always wanted to be!
Philippians 4:6, “Do not worry about anything instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all he has done!” Amen, amen, amen! That is the attitude I want to live with. God is at work within me, using his mighty power to complete a good work that will come to fruition.