Please see the special note at the bottom of this week’s blog.
Imagine an idyllic Greek isle. What comes to mind? The picture in your head is probably a dead ringer for Samos Island: White, sandy beaches, towns so quaint you think they’re a Disney set and a sun that seems to kiss your happy face.
Well, at least that’s what Samos looked like until a couple of years ago. Now the population has swollen as asylum seekers continue to flood over the mile-wide straight from western Turkey.
In the spring of 2016, the European Union inked a deal with Turkey to stem the flow of migrants into Europe. Part of the deal included migrants staying where they land in Greece until their preliminary asylum interview, while another part allocated nearly $2 billion to Greece to care for them. The migrants are stuck on Samos. The money appears to be stuck somewhere else.
The result is a camp designed to hold 700 people now serves as a home of sorts for nearly 4000! Many more live in the woods adjacent to the camp, known locally as The Jungle. Food is scant. Healthcare hard to come by. Basic sanitation virtually non-existent. And the wait interminable.
As you might imagine, this creates a breeding ground for vermin, bugs and resentment. I wonder if it’s not an incubator for radicalism as well. Without justifying violence, it’s not hard to see how such might develop in situations like Samos today.
What can we do?
Throw up our hands in resignation? It’s tempting.
Tell them they should have stayed home? Some should have. Others left when their homes were blown out from under them.
Pray? Certainly a powerful, and in my case underused, response.
Go? I’m wondering about this. I don’t know, but maybe there are prayers to be prayed on site. Kids to be entertained. Pain to be absorbed and hope to be shared. Let me know what you think.
Though they may wonder, God has not forgotten them. Let’s not either.
Once a year I ask the Muslim Connect tribe to help this effort go forward by giving a financial gift. Muslim Connect has always been free and always will be. But this is your chance to say both “Thanks” and “Go get ‘em!” If you like what you’ve read, if you’ve been helped, I’d be grateful if you’d give. When you do, I’ll get you a copy of the brand new, “Ten Things Every Christians Should Know About Muslims” pdf. I’m crazy excited about how it looks and what it says. It’s designed to win hearts for Muslims and would look great on your church bulletin board.
Click here to help this message get farther in the coming year. Thank you.