Today our team went to a refugee camp situated inside a small, run-down soccer stadium on the outskirts of Athens. Within the walls of this stadium, away from the icy gusts of wind that blow in from the sea, are numerous refugees; male and female, from various religious and ethnic backgrounds, all seeking safety and security.
We entered with supplies of blankets and other miscellaneous items, and we were greeted by curious stares of the many young men in the camp. At first, there seemed to be a hardened spirit about them, but we knew that even the hardest of hearts could not resist the love of Christ. With that love, we each took into hand both broom and mop and set out on the daunting task of cleaning the showers and bathrooms of the refugee camp.
As we cleaned, we introduced ourselves to the refugees and found out where they were from; slowly the atmosphere of the camp began to shift. Several of the refugees even began to clean with us, while others began to reach out to us in a more friendly way than before.
When we were done cleaning they insisted upon making tea for us, which is, in their culture, a way of welcoming strangers and making them friends. Several people from our team took time to sit with these new friends and enjoy their tea. We were able to have engaging conversations with the refugees, who consistently asked us why we would come all the way from America to clean bathrooms. We told them it is because we are followers of Jesus, and we believe that this is what He would do.
As we were about to leave, someone from another team decided to share the Jesus Film with the refugees who had cleaned with us, and who were now serving us tea.
More and more refugees joined the group until a small crowd had gathered. Someone from the other team shared the Gospel clearly, and when they gave the refugees a chance to respond, 12 of them decided to give their lives to Christ!!
Two of the refugees who were already believers were happy to share their Bibles with their new brothers and sisters until arrangements could be made to get them their very own Bibles. We immediately connected the new believers with an Arab believer and an American long-termer who are working in Athens.
We were so happy to see people surrender their lives to Christ! We are excited to know that they are in excellent hands and will be discipled as they begin their walks with the Lord.
"It was so good to see God move in such a powerful way - we actually watched as God’s love changed people’s hearts!"
As we huddled into the tram on our way home, I got the sense that we cleaned more than showers and bathrooms that day. We saw hearts and minds renewed, and witnessed Jesus restore hope to forgotten people. Jesus has not forgotten them!
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YWAM Orlando Alumni