We got our first day off today, March 14th. We have worked five shifts in camp so far, each being nine hours.
The first few days we worked RIC gate, which is the the gate that protects the vulnerable families, unaccompanied minors, and single women. Nobody likes to do it but for some reason, Jace and I don’t mind that job toooooo much. The few people that aren’t nice don’t compare to the other refugees, who are so helpful and kind. There have been times where I have had tears well up in my eyes out of frustration working the gate but I know the job is important. You are the only one in between vulnerable people and the rest of the 4,000 refugees. “No” is your most used word at the gate, so sometimes it is hard to make friends.
We have also worked in the clothing warehouse, where we packaged clothing for new arrivals. We had 400 new arrivals over the weekend, thanks to the sunny weather. We enjoyed this job because it felt like a bit of a break. We have also worked info booth, which contains many jobs in itself. We really enjoyed it.
Though the jobs are physically taxing at times, I think many days it is more emotionally taxing.
Between working RIC gate and other miscellaneous jobs, I have managed to make a few friends. One friend named Shareen, showed me the lack of power a language barrier has. She spoke very little english and I, of course, speak like zero Arabic. We were sitting outside of the family compound together during one of my evening shifts. At this point, I was feeling a little discouraged after some troubles at the RIC gate and a little frustrated we couldn’t have a full flowing conversation. That’s when tears filled her eyes and she told me how she lost her three children in Syria and she is in Moria with just her mother and her sister. The language barrier didn’t stop me from seeing the ache in her eyes. She cries the same tears as me but with a lot more hurt. The language barrier couldn’t stop my hand on her back as she sat silently crying. God reminded me that past those gates are families that are hurting and reminded me of why we are here.
This blog post is not about any miraculous story and the blog of this trip may never contain those kinds of stories. God is showing Jace and I how He is present in every little situation. Whether you stand for eight hours guarding a gate or you comfort the widowed mother, we do everything for Jesus. This trip is all about service. That service may look small or unimportant, but then God comes in and reminds us that what we are doing is for Him and gives us the encouragement we need.
Though our days have been long and hard, God is merciful and we have had so many fun experiences. On one of my jobs, I was so busy and feeling like I needed to get a move on, and that’s when a family of four invited me in to have tea with them. I took off my shoes, reminded myself this is what I am here, for all my jobs can wait. I climbed into their Iso box and they poured me a cup of tea. The son spoke great English so I was able to talk to the family for thirty minutes or so. They were one of the families that was packing up to head to Athens! They were hopeful but nervous. The son said, “We hope Athens is better” all I could say was, “I hope so too”… I know Athens can be even harder for some; it is a lot different than Moria. I’ve been praying for them and can’t help but feel sad because I know for some Athens is worse.
Jace and I’s favorite experience so far, has been getting to eat Ethiopian food in camp with some of the Ethiopian refugees. It was SO delicious and SO much fun. They invited us for lunch. Our team leader Kim had bought all of their supplies that morning and brought it to them so they could get cooking. At lunch time Kim, Jace, and I headed up to level one and sat on their floor as they brought out one big tray of a sauce with chicken, peppers, onions, boiled eggs, and other stuff that I can’t remember. We all dug in and shared the same plate and ate with our hands. We all had grease dripping to our elbows and grease all over our mouths. It was such a fun experience that I will never forget. They fed me till I could not eat anymore.
Overall, we have loved working in the camp, we are exhausted but our rest day should get us all ready to go again.
We GET to love these people and not from our own source of love, but rooted in the love of Christ.
Thank you everyone for the encouraging messages we have received and prayers! We have such an awesome support group at home.
p.s. We will never have pictures of camp or inside of camp because it is illegal and there are stories of volunteers being detained by the military for taking pictures, so we won’t be doing that haha. As soon as I find a link that is an accurate representation of the camp currently, I will link it.