2020 Short-Term Mission Trips

I used to think short-term mission trips were only for the “super-spiritual, bilingual, uber Christian” who had the entire Bible memorized. Then I was challenged to go to Kiev. With some skepticism, I asked God for everything to fall into place logistically before I would commit, and sure enough God orchestrated some amazing details! Despite this, I told God “I am not qualified,” God broke down that barrier and not only did I go to Kiev, but God awakened my heart to His love for the nations. That trip created a new awareness in me so now when I read, “People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God” (Luke 13:29) I find myself almost in tears rejoicing at what a great God we have who loves all His children.  In spite of your own…

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Lesvos November 2019: Day 5

Our last day at the Center.  We were a bit run down, five of six team members battling sickness. But we pushed through knowing this was our last chance to serve the precious women, kids and All4Aid workers.  An electrician was finally able to come today.  It had been scheduled at the beginning of the week, but due to strikes and other delays the service upgrade didn’t happen until today.  This meant canceling some of the day’s previously scheduled laundry appointments and offering fewer showers in order to close the Center early.  (School went on as usual, without electricity, the students don’t even flinch when the lights go out.)  It was hard to face the disappointment of the women and very difficult to explain that the temporary inconvenience would mean better service in the future – more washing machines, consistently hot showers, fewer daily outages. Fridays are “deep cleaning” days…

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Lesvos November 2019: Day 4

Happy Thanksgiving! Today our team is thankful that we were able to assist the Center in providing 85 showers, 36 loads of laundry, and 40 children with schooling! We also provided many women with mediocre manicures and enjoyed creating sunshine craft projects with the kiddos. For Thanksgiving dinner, our team shared a huge family-style Greek meal at a local restaurant. Tonight, we are especially grateful for the refugee volunteers who assist us in making all of the above activities possible. The Center has roughly 10 young girls and women from Moria camp who volunteer everyday to help the Center run smoothly and to provide translation for those of us who lack the ability to speak Farsi. These women work tirelessly to assure women are cared for at the Center, and then return home to the Camp to cook for and care for their own families. We just think the world…

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Lesvos November 2019: Day 3

We had another full, interesting day. The Center seemed more crowded and intense. We were told later this was due to many people receiving transfers to Athens; they were under pressure to get everything in order before their boats left in the afternoon. We’re not sure the conditions will be better in Athens, but it is seen as a step forward in their journey. In the evenings we eat dinner as a team and discuss moments from the day and questions we have about our experiences. Tonight we shared our evening meal with eight of the workers from All4Aid. We learned the stories of how each person ended up serving on Lesvos. Each story was unique, with a common thread of the Lord’s call and divinely orchestrated opportunities. On bad days, they look back to that call and know this is where they are supposed to be. Thanksgiving is an…

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Lesvos November 2019: Day 2

Today at the Center, we served in many of the same ways as Monday: lice checks, showers, laundry, school, and craft activities. We also deep cleaned parts of the Center and organized items for their new store (we might share more about the store later in the week). We finished at the Center a bit early due to a scheduled power outage and used the opportunity to visit the “Life Jacket Graveyard.” This space is a dump for the remnants of a refugee’s journey to Lesvos, such as their life jackets and boats. Let me tell you, it was piled high. The space felt heavy, and left us with more questions than answers: Should we celebrate, as each life jacket represents someone safe at shore? Should we be angry, as people were forced to flee from their homes? Should we be unsettled, as this could just as easily be us?…

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Lesvos November 2019: Day 1

Last week when I checked the weather forecast for our time in Greece, I was disappointed.  I was hoping for a warm week of Greek sunshine after “suffering” through our early Michigan winter.  Instead the forecast showed several days of rain.  When we arrived at the island last night, our Greek hotel owner was fretting about what the rain would do to the people in the camp.  I felt incredibly selfish for wanting sunshine for the sake of my own experience. The people we met and served today walked down the hill from the Camp to the Center and arrived soaked.  They take a shower or do laundry.  We assist however we can (entertain the kids, help with laundry/shower schedules, serve tea, check for and treat lice, find clothes for the families being treated for scabies).  Then they haul their laundry back up the hill, through rain and rivers of…

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Lesvos November 2019: Journey to the Island

Hello from Athens. After an unexpected delay in Newark, we have finally arrived in Greece! We are a day behind, but  maintaining good attitudes and taking the opportunity to get to know each other. When asked to describe our journey, these words quickly came to our mind: long, flexible, team building, unexpected, and fluid. We missed the opportunity to attend church and spend some time shaking off jet lag, but are thankful to arrive to Lesvos on Sunday evening in time to start the week off at the center. In our team devotion on Saturday, we were reminded to be thankful for all the ways God reveals His love to us (Romans 8:28-29). We’re excited to get on the ground in Lesvos and continue to be reminded of God’s love.

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October 27, 2019

Well it’s been a few days now and please accept m apologies for the silence! First, our last two days on the island were overwhelming! The highs of the Woman’s Centre work of our ladies, connecting with the women and children POC’s (Persons of Concern. The work of new classrooms and children’s amazing resilience in the joy of learning and activity time , smiling, laughing, having fun together causes our hearts to smile. The All4Aid Centre is definitely a ray of light in this very dark place both spiritually and humanitarian based. As the women shared the love of Jesus at the Centre, the guys walked through the heartbreak of the camp, to say overcrowded, is a vast understatement! We sorted tents, packed clothing, winterized tents, counted people, mapped tent placement in the overflowing olive groves and walked/talked with people from many countries and cultures! Lots of interaction with refugees…

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October 23,2019

Today was a hard day! Today was an up close and  personal look into the reality of the life of a refugee family. Moria camp has burst its borders and spills out into the olive groves on the accompanying hillsides. What was built to house 2500 now overflows with 15,000 people. Families of 4-6 making due in a 4 person tent! We took census today and mapped out sections of the hillside to provide some level of mapping for where people are! We met several families, husbands and wives, children all with smiling faces, eager to welcome you into their tent and share some tea or roasted bread, the little they had, with you! Would I do the same if the shoe were on the other foot? These people have nothing, they left it all behind in exchange for safety and freedom. We serve an awesome God and we serve…

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October 22, 2019

Day 2 has come to a close as I write this! It was another full day. The boys, Bill, Bob & Marv, reported to camp Moria and volunteered to help in the EuroRelief warehouse. There, we prepared clothing packs for new arrivals to the camp. These packs are put up by size, age, & gender. It was a privilege to pray over each pack and ask God to touch the life that would be receiving the clothes and draw them to himself as they journey the refugee path! We also helped reorganize and inspect a large amount of used tents to see if they could be handed out in the future! Dawn and Phyllis enjoyed another day in the center ministering to the ladies and their children. The school was in operation for its second day and everyone came back and was extremely excited. In the morning the class is for…

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