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2023, Greece:

Lesvos 2023 – Day three: Pinwheels and Poverty

Today marked our third day working in the center. Energy levels are a little lower today, and we are are examining different emotions as we experience helping those who endure so much suffering. Feelings have ranged from compassion to confirming to even recognizing the contrasts of life’s circumstances. We grapple with guilt when we are distracted by lost luggage while those we serve have lost seemingly everything. We feel compassion when we spend a few moments braiding a young girl’s hair and pray a silent prayer over her as we do so. We feel conflicted when we offer a foot massage to a woman who’s trekked cross-country to escape persecution and certain death. We also recognize the contrasts of providing respite in a world so torn with war and oppression.

It is hard to say no to people when there are limited resources. It is difficult to want to heal the hurt when the best we can do is offer a hug, a warm shower, or a French braid. We strive to offer a moment of respite in a world that has been chaotic, uncertain and devastating for the thousands of people seeking refuge on Lesvos.

It is also hard to not wonder whether we are doing enough, yet we know it is not up to us to determine the effectiveness of our work but to trust and obey what God is telling us to do.

Our team verse for this trip is Isaiah 1:17: “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”

These are great words and we are commanded by God to do these things, so this week we defend and take up causes of the oppressed by washing and massaging feet, supporting the All4Aid team by picking up donations and organizing the clothes closet, scrubbing showers, folding towels, braiding hair, bathing babies and making crafts as women and children pass the time while their laundry is washed or they await their appointment to visit the food pantry.

As we spend time with these women, we begin to see glimpses of their suffering caused by no fault of their own, but from the oppressive and dangerous situations from which they escape. As we wash and massage the feet of a women and daughter whose heels are calloused from trekking across countries to flee to Europe, or when we offer an eight-minute shower to a young teen girl, or help young moms pick out four items from the clothes closet, we sometimes hold back tears but also recognize their dignity and need for normalcy and belonging. We pray they each feel Jesus’ deep love for them with each small act.

We are tired but still in good spirits. We are still waiting for two pieces of luggage to arrive but we haven’t lost hope. We are settling in a little earlier this evening so we are fully ready for tomorrow. And we ask you to continue joining us in prayer, for the people of Lesvos and that God would simply multiply our resources and efforts so that those we serve would feel loved and cared for through each act of service.

Ending today’s post with the promise from Galatians 6:9,10:

”Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”