We are all not of this world. We are all people who belong to another Kingdom. This is the welcome that EVERY person hears as they come through the doors of this sweet little church in Omonia Square. Eleni does not speak of these beautiful people from Syria, Afghanistan, and the Ukraine as “refugees.” They are friends: friends that need a safe place to rest, to learn English, to meet people who love and follow Jesus and are there because He has called us to care.
D is 11. Only months older than my Isaac (my 1st born son.) D is also a 1st born son, the only son to his mother, following by three sisters. Only one year ago, D lost his father to a bombing in Kabul. His mother (and her family) mostly walked from Afghanistan to Greece … taking a route that included walking through a treacherous mountain range into Pakistan and involved snow and horrid weather and then that boat ride: “I am the man of the family now. Many times I had to carry my sisters. I dropped M once and hurt her. I do not like the responsibility that is on me now.” This family is currently at one of the camps that is infested with lice, rats and is about to be shut down (they are building newer ones and they will have to move – praise God!) Would you pray for this sweet family?
Pray that my boys will connect with D and just be friends to him. This past week there were a lot of kids from the US (there is another group of missionaries that have a lot of kids) and mine were distracted by other kids that weren’t much different than them. I watched D watch them. My heart ached watching what I felt was him aching to “fit in,” and be with those boys. By the end of the week, I made my boys (and the other American kids) include him and sit with him and ask him about his school and family and what he loved. I sat at the table of kids and asked him questions and related the answers to the crew of “missionary” kids and arm wrestled them into sharing life. THIS has been the hardest part of my time this week. I ache to see my kids SEE THESE KIDS. I ache to see them move from the “comfortable” of others LIKE them and move towards what I know feels hard for them. I know, because it feels hard for me too.
Stella has thrived hanging out with the refugee kids. Playing. Singing. Dancing. Coloring. It has been so fun to watch her easily make friends, indifferent to the “otherness.”