Refugee crisis divides Europe; Greece stands firm

By October 27, 2015
28 nations are currently members of the European Union.  (Wikipedia)

28 nations are currently members of the European Union.
(Wikipedia)

Greece (MNN) — Member nations of the European Union stand divided after Sunday’s emergency summit.

The approach of winter and at least 30,000 more refugees from the Middle East have EU leaders bickering over what to do next.

Germany, Austria, and Greece are making room for refugees, BBC reports, and calling on their neighbors to do the same.

Meanwhile, Hungary already has a fence to ward off trespassing refugees. Following Sunday’s meeting, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Romania threatened similar safeguards.

“If we do not deliver some immediate and concrete actions on the ground in the next few days and weeks, I believe the EU and Europe as a whole will start falling apart,” said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who called the meeting in Brussels.

Over 670,000 refugees and migrants have entered Europe this year; Greece saw 56,000 people in six days land on its shores last week.

On Lesbos, Operation Mobilization (OM) is helping Greek believers confront a tidal wave of humanity.

Greece responds to refugee crisis

Syrian refugees arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos.  (Photo, caption courtesy OM)

Syrian refugees arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos.
(Photo, caption courtesy OM)

One of the few European nations responding “positively” to the refugee crisis, Greece has played host to more than 500,000 refugees and migrants in 2015.

Instead of creating a single “refugee city,” as was proposed in the EU’s emergency summit, Greece is setting up “hospitality camps” to accommodate 30,000 of its 50,000 refugees quota.

“There will be no concentration camps in our country,” government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili told reporters on Monday.

Rent subsidies, underwritten by the UNHCR, will be given to the remaining 20,000 refugees.

While Greece’s government deals with refugee crisis logistics, Greek believers are on the front-lines.

Thousands upon thousands of life-jackets are abandoned at the Lighthouse area of Lesbos. (Photo, caption courtesy OM)

Thousands upon thousands of life-jackets are abandoned at the Lighthouse area of Lesbos.
(Photo, caption courtesy OM)

“OM teams across Europe have been helping out practically, but also spiritually,” shares OM’s Robert Strong. Strong oversees OM refugee crisis response in Europe.

“For example, here in Lesbos where I am right now…we would offer prayer for people that have just arrived. Our teams are 24/7 present to be an assistance where they can.”

In this interview, he shares how the response of Christians is impacting refugees.

“The Christians are the ones to help,” refugees have told Strong.

“They say, ‘We can’t believe that you are all here–Christians from around the world and the Christians in Greece–that are so warmly welcoming us, and we’re thanking you for that.’”

How Christians are responding

As a registered organization in Greece, and with work in 110 countries worldwide, OM is strategically placed to help refugees in their hour of need.

See what believers in other European countries are doing with OM’s help.

“OM [is like] the glue [that connects] churches to respond to this crisis,” explains Strong.

As Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan refugees pour onto the beaches of Lesbos, OM Greece and partner organisations offer water, essential items and, more importantly, hope.  (Photo, caption courtesy OM)

As Syrian, Iraqi, and Afghan refugees pour onto the beaches of Lesbos, OM Greece and partner organisations offer water, essential items, and, more importantly, hope.
(Photo, caption courtesy OM)

In one part of Greece, “The evangelical Greek Church, as well as the local ‘international’ churches–Filipino, Korean churches–are all coming together and cooking meals for the refugees,” he shares.

“This has never happened in the history of the Church in Greece…churches from all different denominations–migrant churches as well as local churches–are joining hands to see these people helped.”

Government and local officials have appreciated OM Greece and the local churches’ quick ability to organize Arabic and Farsi/Dari translators to help communicate with the refugees. They’re also providing clean water and clothing.

OM Greece needs your prayer and financial support to continue helping refugees who are fleeing to Europe.

  • Please pray that somehow through the refugee crisis, God would be glorified.
  • Pray for unity as believers respond to needs surrounding the refugee crisis.

To help financially, please contact your local OM office. Or, if you live in the U.S., click here to help through OM USA.

Leave a Reply