They say to get to know someone you must walk a mile in their shoes. In our case we tried to walk 1,400 miles in a few hours. Although this is impossible on most levels, I felt connected and blessed to be given even a glimpse of the life many from Syria face. The most resounding message I heard God speak through my experience here in Berlin is that helping refugees is not about programs, but Relationships.
I believe Satan loves to immobilize us with logistics planning when Jesus is calling for action. Where we will find the volunteers, where will we do this event, how much will it cost are all common stalling points. Maybe it is our western thinking that makes us feel the need to answer these questions before we act, or maybe it is an attempt by the enemy. Either way, relationship is as easy as just showing up.
Personally, I relate to the saying that, “If Satan can’t get you to Sin, he will get you to be busy.” When we are busy we have not time for relationship, no time to serve others, no time to reflect on what God is calling us to do. Often, I have really good excuses to not serve. For example, “I am too busy with my family to serve.” In this case, not only have I missed Gods call for me but potentially kept my family from experiencing God as well. I ask for forgiveness that I have used busyness and logistics as a way to avoid Him.
Each day in Berlin has built on the next. Yesterday, we were blessed by refugees living in the community. When I was with them I felt a closeness to God I long for. Just sitting down and drinking coffee, listening to their stories, playing games has changed my heart forever. The Syrians are beautiful people. The ones I met never once spoke against America or Christians. They knew who we were and where we were from, and this did not matter in the slightest to them. What mattered was we were there. They could tell we wanted genuine relationship with them, and so they poured out their hearts, minds, and stories to us. They told us they wanted to work, they loved their country, and they were grateful for Germany. Whatever negative stereotype I have heard, the people I met were not it. These are people I would like in my community.
God addresses the need to care for refugees directly all throughout the bible. My hope and prayer is that as our team returns to the USA we can help our community to embrace refugees from Syria and other war torn parts of the world. I pray for open hearts and a Welcome Culture in the USA. I pray that Jesus would reveal himself to these refugees, and they would some day return to Syria to rebuild a new nation. Let us not be distracted, but united in Love. We should look to Germany for the example, and remember we are Here to Serve.