When Missions Come to Us
The last four months I have been watching these people, and it had a strong effect on me to pray for them. I too have been through war and refugee days and I know all to well the feelings of fear, fear of getting hurt, fear of being separated from my family, fear of loss, fear of the unknown, when you are powerless and lost somewhere far from your home. I also know what it means to have an arm of salvation open towards you, to have good will shown to you, to have help in those moments.
I think about the peace we received from God. Can we share it with others, show our love, and make someone happy; in this place, in this refugee camp, in the middle of their terrible journey, show love to a stranger just passing by?
There is a railway line going through the camp, and this is where the train arrives. These old decrepit trains arrive with hundreds of souls in them, each of them with their life story. They sleep and they dream. Each soul is on a long and difficult journey, just so their families can escape poverty, misery, war and hunger. Nor winter nor snow will stop them on their journey. They disembark and walk through the snow and cold lost, confused, tired; they are men, women and children, all sleepy and crying. Now it is even harder to watch them. Among them there are a lot more children and pregnant women. And the picture is that much painful because there are a lot more of them with health issues, blind people, invalids, and old people in wheelchairs.
Jesus comes to us in unexpected ways, right here and now. How do we see Him today?
Our Jesus has a lot of faces in the camp. Some are small, some are big, some are hungry, some are dirty, mostly frozen, scared, worried, grateful, even smiling. I hope that Jesus is happy because we are there. We are tired, but like the refugees we are persistent. We are happy when we manage to bring a smile to someone’s face.
We are grateful and happy that the Lord God has shown us the mercy of cooperating with Him in His work, suffering and mercy. Thank you to all who have prayed, and still pray for us, all who have sent help, gathered money and helped distribute the aid. We are thankful for all of our volunteers that are working hard day and night serving in the camp.
How wonderful it is to live in peace, joy, prosperity! We would say: “Well, all people deserve that” but not all can find it in their surroundings.
There are those right here and now, who are torn from their loved ones, those who lost their loved ones forever, those who lost everything in the war, those who are in fear, those who cannot feel joy or have a chance to eat a hot meal and rest for at least one night in peace.
We are able to offer the necessary help and nourishment to these people, people different than us, people of different race and faith, but people who are in trouble. We are here to offer a smile, a kind word, a glimmer of hope during their short time between two train rides with a wish that somewhere they will live better, in peace and prosperity. I want to make you aware that the refugees come out of a great need (long wars, completely ruined country and destroyed society), they are ready to risk their lives and the lives of their loved ones. They mostly come from war-torn countries, they are the victims of conflict, persecution, they are traumatized but they are thankful for everything they get from us. They mostly ask us where they are and how much will this cost them.
They cannot believe that everything here is for free, and a lot of them are thankful. I conclude that everything up to our border is a big business where someone is profiting very well. That not everyone thinks as we do, we have seen long time ago. Since the beginning of the migrant crisis we have been listening to comments of our surroundings and local people from Slavonski Brod.
Most of them would do something humanitarian for the refugees, but a lot of them are afraid and keep thinking that a certain percentage of the refugees doesn’t have good intentions or that some of them are young and strong enough and should have stayed in their country to fight. They also think that this is costing our country a lot, and we are already in a bad economic situation.
Our wish is to be the embodied hand of good. We want to bring Christ the Savior closer to all people in need, but to also be a witness of the Gospel to the people living in our own country.
We hope and believe that these people will one day find a safe and warm home. It is on us to answer the call and serve God and mankind.
Written by Nada Jović, CBA team coordinator, Slavonski Brod.