Showing Kindness, Sharing Heartache

May 19, 2016

As refugees continue to stream to Europe escaping the tangle of conflict in the Middle East, the choice to bend low each day and remind people of their value is a daily one.

Read Part 1: Risking Kindness

When Gabie was done admiring the flowers from her little friend, she turned back to me.

“Today I saw a special case,” she said, her voice suddenly taking on a serious tone. “A woman, like 50 years old, she was shot in her chest and she has a big hole. She showed it to me today and … To be honest, I was scared. The woman lived, and her husband didn’t. And that was because she wanted to be a Christian.”

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A refugee boy receives a new coat from Samaritan’s Purse.

The woman had chosen to remain true to God and had made the decision that if she and her young daughter were going to survive, they had no choice but to leave the country she’d called home her whole life. The woman had made it to the safety of Chios Island along with her daughter and several nephews.

“When I saw the hole, it broke me,” Gabie said. “I will have that image in my head for a long time.”

The reality is, working on the front lines to aid the most vulnerable refugees is full of joy and laughter and flowers, but it’s also difficult. Choosing to show kindness and share heartache and joy is almost always a risk. You risk being affected by others’ pain. You risk giving of yourself and receiving nothing in return except maybe a few small fistfuls of wildflowers, a thank you, or a hug.

As refugees continue to stream to Europe escaping the tangle of conflict in the Middle East, the choice to bend low each day and remind people of their value is a daily one. It’s a choice to choose laughter and hope in the face of pain and heartache.

For Gabie, despite the risk, the essence of who she is as a Christian motivates her to show kindness to the refugees landing on her island. She chooses sacrificial love. She chooses to see refugees not as problems but as people in need of a smile and a welcome face.

“[Spending time with these refugee kids] is not what I have to do,” Gabie said. “This is what I feel to do!”

During their journey, many refugees have only been greeted with hostility—sharpshooters at borders, gruff smugglers, and people that would rather exploit them than see them find safety. The smiling faces, respect, and kindness shown to refugees by people like Gabie are a contrast to everything they’ve just experienced. Samaritan’s Purse staff members on the frontline have been working hard in the face of uncertainties and heartbreaking situations to bring kindness and hope to vulnerable refugees in need.

Please pray for the refugees as they continue to face hostility and uncertain futures and for our staff on the ground as they bring aid and love to people stuck in tough situations.

 

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