Imagine you’re at home, just hanging out, going about your day, when you hear a loud speaker outside your house, quiet at first, but slowing getting louder, closer, repeating the same piercing message: “A mandatory evacuation is in effect. This city is no longer safe. Collect only what you can carry, and evacuate the city. A mandatory evacuation is in effect…”
You look out the window and see military vehicles driving slowly down your street, soldiers with rifles walking in pace. This isn’t a joke; not some kids playing with a megaphone or some promotion for a new movie. This is the real deal, and you really need to leave your house, probably never to come back again.
What would you do? Where would you go?
Thinking of my home in Canada, I would probably just head one or two cities over, where I know I have family and friends who would let me stay with them until I can get set up again. That’s very do-able. But, what if that wasn’t available?
What if instead of your city, it was your province/state… or your whole country? What would you do if nowhere that you’ve known was safe anymore, and you needed to leave, maybe never to come back again? Where do you go, and how do you survive?
This is a question I’ve been thinking about off and on for a while, and one that’s been rekindled in my mind this week.
I’m currently sitting on the roof of a house about 30 km from the Syrian boarder. I’m here for the week to help with a program for refugee kids who have had to flee from Syria and now are living in a small camp just outside the city.
The camp we’re helping with consists of abandoned, temporary laborer shelters, between a farmer’s carrot field and the highway. There’s about 15 families who have settled here, and about 35 kids between the ages of 0-13 that we’re hanging out with. Right now, the fathers of the family are miles away in the fields, working to be able to buy some food for their families by helping bring in the harvest.
At the moment, the fathers are bringing in enough money for basic food and water… but harvest time is coming to a close, meaning these 15 families are going to need to find a new place to live pretty shortly. Some will stay in country, some will probably try to make their way towards Europe, and some attempt to return to Syria.
The local church has taken to helping these families, and helping a couple other nearby camps. We got to team up, spend time with the kids, and see Jesus’ love poured out in this camp.
Here’s some more photos from our time:
Pray for God’s kingdom to continue to move in the lives of refugees, and for the Church to continue to rise up to help meet the need.