Over the next few weeks I would like to share with you about our trip to Prague and specifically about the refugee situation in Europe and stories from the lives of some of the those helping. Thank you for reading.
Weary But Willing
“Please kill me”, this is what the note said that was put in her hand as she passed out blankets and clothes in the detention center where the refugees are being held.
The refugees found out that they may be getting deported. If deported back to their home country they will be publically executed in front of their family and friends. They view killing them here as a more merciful option.
What do you do when you are faced with so much despair?
What do you do when you are one of the few trying to care for so many.
A few weeks ago I had the honor of traveling to Prague on a humanitarian partnership trip with Collegiate Abbey and The University of Tennessee. It was on this trip that I met Petra, the refugee worker mentioned above.
Petra heard about the refugee crisis in the surrounding countries. The refugees are not welcome in her country. There is a state of fear and anxiousness. This state of fear has left many who would consider helping paralyzed. Fearful of being wounded by those who appear to be in need, but also alienated from their countryman if they try to help.
Petra felt she that as a follower of Christ, she must do something.
Armed with a sign that said “I am here to help” in arabic, she went to the train station not knowing what she would encounter.
She was pushed.
She was spit on.
She was berated.
Yet still she went.
The refugees never arrived at the train station.
After some digging, she found that they were being taken off the trains at the border and sent to detention centers.
These detention centers are old prisons that they are using to house the families that are coming.
The cost of staying in these centers is the equivalent of whatever you have on you at the time.
So after your “stay”, you move on….with nothing.
Petra visits the centers. She, along with some other brave volunteers that have joined her, visit to let the people know they are not forgotten. They take clothing, blankets and snacks -hoping that the refugees see that someone does care.
Many of the detention centers have now emptied out.
Some have started the process of resettlement, granted asylum the refugees now try to make a home in a country where they are not wanted.
Petra is once again serving.
She smuggles people to doctors. They have to travel after the office closes and go in side entrances. The doctors fear what would happen if it was found out they were helping refugees. She tries to find teachers for the families to learn the language.
At a recent volunteer training several church members attended only to be countered by other from the church protesting the training.
When asked, “are you not afraid that some of these are terrorist?” She responds, “does the fear of a few with evil in their heart cancel out what God has called us to do for so many others?”
Petra continues to face opposition.
Yet she is willing.
She serves at a cost.
She is tired – physically and emotionally. She has her own family.
She has done so much, seen by so few.
She told me recently that her hope is that others would see Christ through what she is doing. That she is only demonstrating the love that Christ has shown her.
I can say, that in my case, her hopes were realized.
Petra is one of the most beautiful pictures of Christ love that I have ever seen.
Weary but willing.
Please join me in praying for Petra and the others serving the refugees in countries around Europe. Pray for strength, for encouragement and for hope.
Also please stay tuned for ways that you can join me in partnering with Petra.