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The following day, our team of 11 split up and four of us volunteered to do a 24-hour shift at Skala, which is a stage two refugee camp. Typically, no one willingly volunteers to be at Skala, since there have not been many refugees since the EU-Turkey Accord in March; however; Eurorelief requires that a team be there just in case a few boats happen to get past the Turkish Navy.
I really did not want to go, but when my leader asked for volunteers, I felt the Lord nudging me to go. After a few moments of awkward silence, I listened to the Holy Spirit and volunteered myself.
Honestly, I was quite bitter about it for a while. I felt that I needed to be at the other camp, since I have been forming so many relationships there. At the moment, I didn't quite understand what the Lord was doing. Nevertheless, I woke up bright and early for my shift, got to camp, ate breakfast, took a nap, and headed into the village to buy groceries for our dinner with my other teammate, Regina.
I forgot to buy a few items, so she went ahead to pick up our lunch in the cafe next door while I stayed behind. As I was leaving the store I heard someone call out, "Where are you from?" and I responded, "America!"
It was an elderly man sitting outside the grocery store and he gave me a look as if to say, "No, where are you really from?" so I sighed and answered, "The Philippines."
He seemed satisfied with that answer and introduced himself. We then talked more and he said that his daughter owned the grocery store that I had just came out of and she also happened to be the one that checked my items out. He told me his story about how he was born and raised in Columbia, lived in Corpus Christi (go Texas!) and then moved to Greece.
He has been here for 32 years and has seen the devastation of the refugee crisis. His daughter came out to talk to us and introduced herself (at this point my teammate had joined us). She shared her story of how she grew up in Athens and came to be here. Somewhere in the conversation, things turned spiritual.
They shared their beliefs about how corrupt religion is. The father grew up Catholic and he hated it and so did the daughter. They grew into their own beliefs and came to the conclusion that God is inside all of us and inside everything. They do not believe in Jesus as Lord but they both believe that He was a great teacher.
As we spoke, I prayed for open hearts to whatever I was going to say. I got a chance to tell them that I too disliked religion as a Christian and told them that Jesus came so that we could have union with God through Him and not through a priest or through rules.
Before we said goodbye, I asked if I could pray for them. I prayed that they would realize God’s love for them and that God loved them so much He sent Jesus to die on the cross for them.
I felt the daughter reach out and grab my arm. I looked up and saw that the daughter's eyes were filled with tears. She too has had a bad experience with Christians and I'm sure this was different for her. She and her father gave me the longest hug and made me promise that I would come back again. It was at that moment I realized this was why God wanted me at Skala instead of the other camp today. I may not have been with the people I've been building relationships with at camp, but that day, God wanted me to care for another two souls. I am in awe of His power and am thankful I chose to step out and follow His spirit, otherwise I would have never gotten to meet them. Obedience first. Understanding later.
God has done mighty things in Greece, working in the lives of those who claim it as home and in the lives of those who do not. By faith I know that He will continue this work in all of their lives, long after I say goodbye.
Ginnie Yu, a senior at The University of Texas at Dallas, is currently a Go Now Student missionary serving in Lesvos, Greece.