Starting Up In Thessaloniki!
As the Lord has been guiding our ministry, we at YWAM Refugee Circle felt lead to really press in and continue on in what He has called us to, love and respond to the Refugee Crisis.
This looked like pioneering works in Thessaloniki, and creating an easily accessible platform for volunteers and teams from around the world to be able to get plugged into existing ministries caring for refugees, as well as create more space for new initiatives to be started. Three months in, and it is clear to see God's hand in everything, from finding the perfect accommodations to be able to lodge 20 people, bringing incredible favour with the different churches and Non Government Organizations (NGOs), to each person we have been able to meet and share the life and hope of Jesus to.
In the greater Thessaloniki area there are 21 camps, with more being made, hosting over 50 000 refugees. We started out being able to serve in one, being able to distribute food and clothes, and more open doors came. We are also helping serve in a warehouse, sorting countless donations that get sent in everyday and prepare them for distribution. Now we are on the brink of being able to serve in two more refugee camps. God is moving! At church on Sunday we see more responding to the invitations to come, and get to share in this new life they have in Europe.
Here's a story from one of our coordinators shared from church.
"When I found her, I preferred not to leave. We lost our life in Syria, now we get to make a new one." Amjad and Maisa were married three weeks ago in a camp without a celebration. They came to church this morning and upon hearing that, we all came together to celebrate and share a meal. This is them cutting their cake! Their story is so hopeful. Maisa had gotten sick at the camp so Amjad came to translate between her and the doctors. She laughed so hard as she told me how they would exchange winks when no one was looking. Afterwards, they got each others whatsapp contact info and he soon asked her to marry him. She told me she played coy and said, "No, let's just be friends." He agreed, but she said that she missed him so much that she would cry and ruin her mascara. That wasn't to be tolerated, she's quite fashionable. Her mom told her to stop all this and call him. She changed her mind without a doubt and they decided they would married after all. They're smitten, constantly teasing each other and their love is deep. She's 23 and he's 26. He studied English at university and she graduated with a history major. She's from Amman and he's from Damascus. It was so fun seeing the joy they had found in each other. We laughed all afternoon as we got to celebrate life with them and pray together. They said God brought them together. Among all of the tragedy, Beauty is in the making.'