Tearing Down Walls

story courtesy Brice Johnson

Youth for Christ's International Community Youth Ministry strives to engage international teens in opportunities to serve those in deepest need. Often this involves long distance trips to far off places. Now, due to the flood of refugees into Europe, some of those in deepest need are now at our doorstep.

The system for receiving refugees has been overwhelmed and individuals and families face months of waiting before they can start a new life. Boredom and cramped spaces has often led to fighting and tension between people groups.

Our students and staff saw the need and took action. After a few weeks of planning and a generous donation from Spikeball, we had an afternoon of games planned at the refugee center. It started slowly, but curiosity brought people from the Middle East and Northern Africa out to learn a game they had never seen.

The gloom of the refugee center was transformed into smiles and laughter.

During the games I started a conversation with Elias, from Syria. We spoke about his journey, what he had escaped and his hope for the future. He showed me pictures of his two young girls who, with their mother, were hoping to make an attempt to cross the sea before the weather got worse. I could see in Elias' eyes how desperately he wanted to see his children and how worried he was for their journey.

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” -Hebrews 13:2

As I spoke to Elias, Adam from Frankfurt stood beside me.

Adam is in grade 11 and has been struggling to find his identity, to feel needed or to know that he has purpose. Adam felt something that day, and asked Elias some questions. His heart for the refugees, the homeless and his friends is now coming alive. He wants to serve and show love to others. I'm praying it won't be long before Adam knows WHO gave him that heart and he's drawn into a relationship with his loving Creator.

Adam is starting to work now on collecting funds to purchase hats made by gypsy women in Romania, to give to refugees in Germany who need warm clothing. This project will help two people groups with much needed income and warm clothing. 

International students may not experience extreme need or poverty in their own lives, but they know what it means to be uprooted and moved to another culture and asked to start again. YouthCompass has been uniquely positioned with these students, in a time and place when their compassion is much needed in the lives of the refugees and when God’s great compassion is vital in their own.

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