Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Touching Moment from the Refugee Crisis in Europe

A girl, her father, and a kitten offer a snapshot of who’s trekking across Europe in search of refuge.

Today, I woke up in Macedonia and drove two hours across the Greek border.

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I went through the normal checkpoint and had my passport stamped. Once across, we began driving parallel to the border until we came upon a group of a couple hundred refugees.

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Amena smiles and holds her cat close.

The group had just disembarked from a train and walked a kilometer or two to where we met them. They were walking along the train tracks until they came to a place to cross. Once they crossed over, they were in Macedonia. There was no one to stamp passports, but the refugees were guided along the way.

Although the news has mostly focused on Syrian refugees escaping a civil war that started in 2011, I found that there were also several refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq, and a couple of African countries. People are leaving their homes for many reasons, but it’s not to “take advantage” of the hospitality of these Eastern European countries. Each person I spoke with had a heartbreaking story of why they had journeyed so far from their homes.

Each person touched me in a different way, but as I sit in my room back in Macedonia, one refugee stands out from the rest in my mind. Amena* was a teenage girl with a sweet smile. As she sat on an embankment for a moment at one of the stops, she unzipped an orange bag, and I heard a meow. After a couple of minutes of coercing, she was able to pull him from it.

I was excited, probably because I miss my cat; so I sat beside Amena to pet her friend. As I did, I asked her a few questions. Her English was broken but still better than my Arabic. She told me, with the help of those around her, that she and her family—her parents, brother, and sisters—had journeyed from Syria.

Along the way, they found this cat in Turkey. It was only a day old, and its mother had just died. She took compassion on it and brought it along with her.

As she spoke to me, her father walked up and picked up the cat. He cuddled it. Something about seeing a grown man do that—while he’s carrying all of his belongings and his family across the Middle East and Europe—made my heart happy.

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Amena’s father gives the family cat a scratch under the chin.

In America, some of the news from Eastern Europe is filled with rioting and fear. I didn’t see that today. I saw a man and his daughter caring for an animal that could not care for itself. I saw her carrying an extra bag, across three countries so far, that she didn’t have to carry. I saw two people who, despite losing everything themselves, still had compassion for another of God’s creatures.

Amena and her father were two of thousands who crossed the border into Macedonia today. Each person has a unique story to tell. Most people left behind everything in search of a better life, and yet I saw tiny acts of compassion like Amena’s everywhere today. Please pray that she and her family are able to settle in Europe, and pray for safety in their journey.

*Name changed for security reasons.

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17 Comments on "A Touching Moment from the Refugee Crisis in Europe"

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kaitlin kuhn

I Love the work that Samaritans Purse does. It deeply touches my soul and I am happy to be a prayer warrior and to donate.

Debra

What a wonderful story, thanks for sharing it.

Anonymous

May the LORD open the hearts of the many Muslim refugees to come to know the REAL SAVIOUR through your awesome brave hearts and compassionate team. I salute the Samaritan’s purse ministry.

Hi Wade, we don’t typically use volunteers in international crises. We have staff and partners on the ground who are doing the work. The most important thing you can do is pray for these people as they move throughout Europe. Thank you!

Wade McHargue

Is there a way to volunteer with SP as a short termer… 2-4 weeks with the refugee crisis? We served as missionaries in the Muslim world for 7 years and are wondering if you need boots on the ground.

Myrl Suite

Samaritan’s Purse thank you for what you are doing to help these people in this awful crisis, may the Lord be with you for your safety
and the people so affected by this horrendous situation, thank you for seeing the best in people by saving a dear helpless kitty while they are at such risk in their own lives…Father Bless each and every soul and keep them safe…and bless each country that takes them in…

Kim

Amen, this is our moment in history to extend the gospel to the Muslim community. Let’s seize the moment! What better time to meet the risen Savior, Jesus the Christ in their time of need. Praise the Lord for His mercies never end.

Dee

I pray for all those who face tragedy in those countries that the only God in heaven would meet each person’s needs according to his will and that they would accept Jesus into their hearts right now and be saved. People in America as I’m a white American take for granted the things we are blessed with.. Punishment is surely on its way for all wicked people but Jesus Christ will keep us from the wicked one who causes such sufferings. We to must suffer cause Christ did but we are assured of a better home. Amen

Dave Miller
This is the greatest opportunity for evangelism to Muslims that I’ve ever heard of, even past WWII. Evangelism in Word and deed is sorely needed here. And, we need to pray and support Samaritan’s Purse and other evangelical groups to reach these souls for Christ. I was in a small fire this year, and let me tell you:”Hell is hotter than you can fathom. The pain is indescribable and is what brings about the destruction of the soul- not the body, and such people will be in the flames forever. And, there are people in the flames right now.” Hell… Read more »
Linda Phillips

I absolutely love this story. If you have the spirit of God, even in a crisis situation, God’s spirit comes through. No matter which child of Abraham it is, God’s spirit is there. I pray God, the father of Abraham, protects all of them,,, even the infant kitten, on their journey. My Christian prayers go to shield my Islamic cousins,,, travel under God’s umbrella.

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