Friends, I realize it’s been many days now of social distancing. I hope among many ways you are seeking encouragement that these articles with Global Perspective have served you well. Today we get a glimpse into the risks the Covid-19 virus has on the refugee community in Europe and ways believers need to focus no matter what challenges they face. Read on for today’s Global Perspective.
The Refugee Community and the Corona Crisis
Over the past several years, God has given me the privilege of working with the refugee community in Greece. Within this community, a minimum of 7-8 nationalities are all blended together at any given time. Languages, cultures, religions and traditions swirl around me and watching these people work to find their feet in their daily uphill climb has impacted me in more ways that I will ever be able to write.
When the crisis of COVID19 began to reach Greece, its spread to the refugee camps became a major concern. They have lost so much already and often live in crowded conditions with lack of access to consistent proper nutrition, and a sickness like this could spread like wildfire. With great sadness, we proactively decided to close our day centers and gatherings during the last three weeks and limit our movements in and out of the camps to protect them from contamination.
Tonight, I sit here at home beginning week 3 of restricted activity, and, like so many of you, it feels strange to have so little control over my schedule, work, social activities and travel with no guarantee these conditions won’t last for many more weeks to come. Some moments this feels like a great chance to “catch my breath” or work through the growing list of things that always seem to be piling up. Other moments, it can start to feel like everything is out of control and things will never feel “normal” again.
God is using this time, though, to remind me of the lessons He’s taught me as I’ve had a front row seat to witnessing human response to crisis within the work and ministry He’s called me to…here are just few lessons that are hitting home right now:
Lesson 1 – Hospitality and sharing with others is not only possible, but actually an essential part of life even during times of crisis. Yes, we may have to be careful with our resources, learn to waste less, and streamline our spending to what’s truly essential, but at the end of the day, finding a way to share something of ourselves or a portion of what we have with someone else brings true joy…to all involved.
Hebrews 11: 16 “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”
Lesson 2 – A positive outlook and proper focus may not change your circumstances, but it will change how you experience them. When times are hard, it can take a lot of energy and emotion to process even the simplest of daily activities…and there’s no shame in that. But as we are walking through difficult circumstances, it is crucial to find ways to still find things that we are thankful for and create ways to laugh and enjoy moments with those around you (at a proper distance, of course!). My friends here have taught me that when all else fails…ending the day with music and a bit of dancing can always put a smile on your face.
Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.”
Lesson 3 – When life seems out of our control, what we truly believe will be tested. In times like these, life’s distractions fade away and what or who we are truly trusting in becomes evident. If our faith is grounded in Christ, then these times can work to refine us and deepen our belief. But if our faith has been in something or someone other than the God of the universe, we can find ourselves feeling lost and in search of what truth we’ve been missing. God very well may be using this time of crisis to affect many for eternity!
1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
Lord, help us to see these days through your eyes. Give us peace that you are in control, and always have been. Give us compassion for others and use us as salt and light in these trying times. Show us how to not just survive the weeks ahead only to return to “normal life” but help refine us and change us for your glory.
Written by S.