by Mike Frith (OSCAR).
The last year has seen a huge influx of refugees from the Middle East and Africa into Europe, the majority from Syria, but including thousands of Pakistanis, Afghans, Eritreans, Somalians, and others. Transform Europe Now (TEN) work with nationals in 15 countries across Europe, and is one of the groups responding to the current refugee crisis. TEN’s partners in Serbia and Macedonia on the Western Balkan route have been providing food, water and other essential items for the refugees as a practical demonstration of the love of God.
Nesa Radeka, from the Novi Sad Nexus in Serbia shared the following story: “There she was, almost a shadow, or something you briefly glimpse out of the corner of your eye. She was thousands of miles from home. She was scared. She was lonely. She was running for her life.
“She was just one in a group of refugees ‘living’ in a camp located just outside the city of Subotica, Serbia. Our paths first crossed as we walked through the wooded area where the refugees were seeking shelter from the summer heat, and a place away from the police. The area was dotted with makeshift campsites; some with tents, some with a piece of plastic draped over some branches for shelter, some with nothing but the hard dry ground beneath them.
“Our presence was met with a mix of suspicion and joy. We had come here with members of another ministry to let the people know they could come to a nearby building to receive water, food, personal care items, and even baby diapers. Many quickly accepted the invitation, many were hesitant, but trusted the word of others who knew this wasn’t a trap.
“Our paths crossed again as she stood in line with over 100 others. She was waiting her turn to get to the table and receive a loaf of bread, water, 3 hard-boiled eggs, a bottle of shampoo, some hand wipes, and some cookies for her granddaughter.
“It was her eyes that told the story. In a fraction of a second you knew of the fear, the uncertainty, the physical strain of a journey through many strange countries and over more than 5,000 km, and her worries about the future. As she clutched the loaf of bread and bottle of water, suddenly, something changed in her countenance. Beneath the fear, anxiety, and fatigue you could see there was the faintest glimmer of hope.”
Nesa sums it up when he says, “Hundreds of thousands of refugees are expected to come through Serbia over the next few months. We want to continue to assist as we are able, be it through helping supply food and water, and (hopefully) rearranging the schedule of a medical team we have coming to include time to tend to these beautiful people at this most desperate time. We can’t help them all, but we will help all we can.”
For more details visit www.transformeuropenow.org