The Real Problem Facing Refugees Linda Sourris - 21 Dec 2016

 This year Linda-  based in Samos, Greece - has seen firsthand the impact of the refugee crisis. This incredible account of her year is a raw and beautiful snapshot of how God has been at work: 

“The Holy Spirit felt permanently with us, healing people from pain and injury over and over and over again.”

Over and above all difficulties facing the refugees in Samos is the ongoing challenge of their relationship with hope. 

There are an overwhelming number of reasons to lose hope here. When the rain washes away the tent you and your three children were given to live in - it is easy to lose hope.

It's easy to lose hope when you've been waiting in a camp for 8 long months for your first asylum interview. You might have been fleeing a torture chamber in Iraq, or the spectacle of dead bodies appearing overnight in your neighbourhood in Burundi. You might have been fleeing religious persecution in Pakistan where gangs with weapons waited to kill you outside church. 

But because your story is from those countries, it is considered low priority on the asylum totem pole. You are not important. It’s easy to lose hope.

It is easy to lose hope when after months of waiting - living in truly deplorable conditions - after repeated broken promises, no one has heard your story or tried to understand why you fled your homeland.  

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I began the prayer vigil outside the Samos camp in April, standing outside the fence in prayer for an hour each evening. Prayer warriors from all over the world joined me in spirit. After a month of nightly prayer, some refugees who had been praying with me on the other side of the fence asked to meet with me. We gathered in a coffee shop on the harbour. It was such a delight to finally meet them; to see their faces up close; to learn their names and stories. I was taken aback to see the freshness in their faces, faces carrying not a hint of the suffering they had gone through. When I remarked on this, one of them said "You are seeing Jesus". 

Christ in us the hope of glory.

In August, the refugees from the Bible study excitedly agreed to help me run a 24-7 Prayer space at the camp. We manned it around the clock for three sweltering weeks. It was most amazing time of prayer, laughter and Jesus. The Holy Spirit felt permanently with us, healing people from pain and injury over and over and over again. People began bringing their sick children to us rather than the medical centre. After every healing I would say ,“The only way to the God who has healed you is through Jesus”. 

Christ in us the hope of glory.

In October, God provided a house for rent, just 5 minutes drive from the camp, I took one look at the long kitchen and God whispered, “hospitality" So we began to invite people from the camp over for food, warmth, company and prayer.  A few nights ago, some of our guests were frustrated. As they listed their (quite justifiably long) list of complaints.  a refugee veteran, spoke up. "I was also in the camp for 8 months,” he said, “but I went to the prayer vigil every night. Every day I praised God for every blessing He was giving me”  He looked at the others and smiled widely -  "You need to do the same, my friends. This complaining will only bring you deeper darkness”

Christ in us the hope of glory.

So when we open our home, we try most of all to bring them Jesus. We invite them upstairs to our prayer room. When we pray for them, they experience peace they can’t explain. No matter what their faith, Jesus touches their hearts and ministers to their spirits, bringing His peace that transcends all understanding.

Christ in us the HOPE of glory. 

 

Linda

Linda Sourris

Linda Sourris’ calling to Mykonos, Greece in 2013 has led to a life-wrecking, life-enhancing involvement in the refugee crisis on Samos. Her previous professional lifetimes as charity founder/director, counsellor and overseas manager have all turned out to be divine preparation for this calling.  Linda is Mum to two adult children and a little dog called Hunnybun!

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