A Refugee Crisis
I too was eager to do good and to help the refugees. I wanted to experience the warm feelings I thought would come from sharing food, water, and smiles with them. While I knew that I would be shocked by their seemingly endless needs, my first encounter with them left me feeling raw with guilt for not caring sooner…or more. Instead of warm feelings, I felt heartbreak. I was just one person among this sea of people.
We never imagined a mass migration would take place through our cities. Yet refugees continue to come to Europe from the Middle-East and even parts of Africa as wars in their homeland are not ending. The people, fearing for their lives, are forced to find peace and prosperity in other places. Many hope to go to Western Europe by way of Turkey and the Balkan-peninsula. Because of this, several thousand travel through Serbia daily as our country borders the EU. By the time they arrive here, they have been on the road for several weeks and are tired from walking and travelling. Many of their shoes have fallen apart, and they lack even the most essential supplies such as food and water. Because they come from warm climates, they are unprepared for the cold weather in Serbia. Additionally, since some of the EU countries are not very welcoming toward the refugees, many are often stranded at the Hungary-Croatia border crossing for days. It is a humanitarian catastrophe.
Last year I was sent out by Pastor Viktor Sabo to help Tibor Varga with his work among the refugees. Tibor is a local pastor who is a part of the humanitarian organization called the Eastern European Outreach. Using his family van, he takes groups of volunteers to the Serbia-Croatia border twice a week to distribute bread, canned food, fruit, water, jackets, literature, and other essential supplies. While driving to the border, I interviewed Tibor about his work among the refugees.
Tibor shared that during one visit, he met a doctor and his family. They were very modest and quiet people. They politely refused the bag of food he offered them saying that they’d already received some earlier. However, their sad smile prompted him to go back to his car and retrieve some chocolate. He offered it to the children, and this time they accepted. He was then able to talk some more with the father. The doctor had tears in his eyes as he watched his kids eating the chocolate. He was very thankful and said that in their whole journey so far, this was the first time that they had been asked how they were doing.
Tibor also shared that he sometimes finds Christians among the thousands of refugees. Many times he will feel an inner “urge” to approach someone and start talking to them about Jesus only to find out they are a Christian. This is how he met Basileus and a group of other Christians travelling with him. They shared that they were forced to leave their home by ISIS. They were also very excited to have met a minister on their journey! After Tibor gave them the Gospel of John in Arabic, they kissed the book and put it in their backpacks with great reverence.
I am sharing this report in case you wish to partner with us to help the refugees. Tibor plans to bring volunteers to help at the border for longer periods of time. He also wishes to purchase a tent and heaters to help provide a warm shelter for the refugees while they wait.
If you would like to donate toward this cause please e-mail Tibor Varga at: firstname.lastname@example.org .