For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.
We are living in a profound moment in history, a moment that may very well change the future of the world. In an unprecedented way, hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing their home countries and entering Europe.
Our team in Romania felt called to go and be the hands and feet of Christ for those on the grueling journey from one country to another. We took a weekend to travel to the border of Serbia and Croatia with open hearts- ready for whatever God had for us. We collaborated with the United Nations in delivering donations of food, bottled water, kleenex, and other essential items to refugees who were being transported from Serbia further along the Balkan route.
The UN Director for that city told us between 5,000 – 6,000 people arrive everyday. They are fleeing fear, destruction, desolation, war; and they are searching for hope and for a better life. When they went to a bus stop near by and were able to interact more with the refugees there. Most came from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Night was falling and the darkness started to encompass us. The refugees could not really speak English or any other language we were able to offer. They could, however, tell us where they wanted to end up: Germany. 100 yards away from where the crowd of refugees were, there was one street light, a light in the darkness, in the light, the children could be found.
Our team went to them and we were struck at the difference of being in the light and in the darkness. God has a plan for these children, those who are escaping war and starting a new life of hope in Europe. We had brought face paint and offered it to the children. In doing that, we offered a chance for these children to just be children. To laugh. To draw. To forget about their circumstances.
Later that evening, we met a Syrian man who speaks Romanian. He was able to tell us more about the situation in Syria, his experience with his family traveling from Syria to Europe, and their hope for the future. I know God orchestrated this time because only he could bring together a Syrian and three Americans in Serbia to speak Romanian together.
I pray we as the church can welcome these refugees as Christ welcomes us to his feasting table. I pray the refugees see how their own countrymen, their fellow men of faith, drove them out of their home and, yet, they are welcomed by the Christian with warmth and joy.