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Seeing the Middle East with Eyes of Faith

This is a story about how to see with the eyes of faith what you can’t see in the natural. It begins with this realization:  Today on the island of Lesvos, those of us who follow Jesus have an unprecedented opportunity to love the Muslim world without censorship or worries of being politi…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

This is a story about how to see with the eyes of faith what you can’t see in the natural.

It begins with this realization:  Today on the island of Lesvos, those of us who follow Jesus have an unprecedented opportunity to love the Muslim world without censorship or worries of being politically correct. We can either join the media as it stirs up fear, or we can ask God to give us his eyes to see what he sees.

Because of the chaos of war in the Middle East, refugees are fleeing by the millions. Terrorized by those who are being tortured and decapitated, families are leaving their homes in Syria, Iraq and Yemen with little more than the clothes on their back. 

For many, the first stop is Lesvos, Greece. Lesvos is a little sun-washed island just off the coast of Turkey.

I sensed that God wanted the World Race in Lesvos. But the need was urgent – how to make that happen in real time? We had no contacts and no squads designated to go anywhere near there. All we could do is ask God to give us his eyes of faith.

So, our leaders prayed. We talked to Matt and Cindy, World Race coaches located in Greece. We talked to my friends Angelo and Jim. No one knew how to make this happen. All we knew is that God wanted it to happen, not how. 

Then, last Monday I got a call that began to sync up my natural vision with what I was seeing with the eyes of faith.

Krystle is a young lady I had coached on the World Race five years ago. Karen and I love her. She helped start the Beauty for Ashes ministry. Several years ago, Krystle got married and dropped off our radar.

Last week, Krystle emailed – “can we talk immediately?”

I was headed out to play a game of flag football, but said “yes” and got in touch with her and her husband Kevin on Skype.

She looked like the same old Krystle I had coached for over a year.

She said, “We’re here on Lesvos, Greece. God led us here eight months ago. We didn’t know why. Then yesterday, an organization we work with was given a refugee camp by the UN. We have 30 volunteers helping, but 20 are going home.”

I may not be the sharpest crayon in the box, but I could see where this was going.

“So you are desperate for help and want to know if I can send any World Race squads to you?”

“Yes!”

“Well, given the urgency and the costs of getting there, logistics will be a problem, and money will be a problem, but I’ll see what I can do.”

On my way to the flag football game I sent out an email to our logistics team. Immediately they began working with our contact and squad in Albania. Could they re-route if we found the funds?

Within a week, another nonprofit committed funds, and the squad was on its way to Lesvos.

Oh, and who were their coaches? The very people who had got me thinking about the refugee crisis – Matt and Cindy. They said, “If you can get us tickets, we’ll drop what we’re doing and go to Lesvos to orient the squad and help Krystle and Kevin.”

Yesterday my friends Jim and Angelo wrote me and said, “We just received an urgent call for aid workers on the island of Lesvos. They are receiving an ‘incredibly high’ number of refugees and migrants and are being ‘overwhelmed,’ as are all the international NGOs and UN agencies.” 

They named the same agency that Krystle and Kevin are working with and asked, “can you come help?”

What are the odds? Jim was a professor when I was a student at Wheaton. Angelo is my ministry buddy here in Gainesville! They not only happen to be working on this same issue, but working with the very same people!

I wrote back and said, “Not only can we, but a squad and their coaches are en route to that very camp!”

This morning as a tide of ragged refugees continue to wash up on the beaches of Lesvos, a World Race squad is there waiting to care for them and love them. What I could only see with the eyes of faith is now a reality.

It’s a great lesson for all of us. What is it in your life that you can only see with the eyes of faith? Who is God potentially positioning to activate in the natural what you can only see in the spirit?

God is good and he is working on our behalf. As we press in to areas in our life that our enemy wants us to see with eyes of fear, God is asking us, “please see this as I do. Choose to see your situation through eyes of faith.”

Choosing faith may seem counter-intuitive. But God gives us eyes of faith for a reason. Why not choose to use them?

 

For an update about how our team is doing on Lesvos, please read this.

Comments (22)

  • Great post, Seth. Great timing for me to read, as well. Gonna pull this bit out of the back pocket over the next couple of weeks.

  • Thank you for telling this story. This is so inspiring, exciting, faith building, the whole kaboodle. We have a racer on Y Squad (Jamison), and so this international crisis has suddenly become very personal and close to home.

    Godspeed to the squad and the leaders. Shine on, racers!

    • Jamison is a winner – he’s on the adventure of his lifetime. He always wanted to be an actor – now he’s starring in a screenplay that God is writing in real time.

  • So beautiful Seth. Praying deeply this afternoon for that squad, the coaches and especially those refugees. May God bring His incredible hope, truth and life in these coming days!

  • This is so awesome, Seth. So wonderful to see the Lord working so powerfully through this ministry. We will continue to be in prayer for the squad and for what the Lord is doing there.

  • Hey Seth! I was on 3rd Gen D squad and I’ve had the Middle East on my heart for almost a year now. I would love to get on board with anything AIM is doing over there. Please let me know how I can get involved.

  • As a Y squad racer (Team Ichthys) here in Lesvos … Thanks for posting!
    Our feet are here because we all said Yes to God’s call … Once you choose to see with those “faith eyes” your “physical feet” start to move… Please continue to pray for our squad, not everyone is fully funded as of today and this is a concern for some. Pray with us as we too continue to see with “Faith Eyes” even here …

  • Our daughter Cassandra is on team Nani (Y squad) and arrived there yesterday. We were just talking about how it could be possible to coordinate the route change. So many things worked out by God!

  • We also have a racer, Bethany, on team Nani on Y squad. We were sitting in the airport on our way to Launch in Atlanta. We were watching the reports of the refugees and I sensed that Bethany’s squad would be in the area “for such a time as this”. We are so thrilled that Y Squad has this incredible opportunity. God speed!

    • Thanks for your support for the squad, Kathleen. Your prayers have activated all that is happening now with them.

  • Thank you for writing this blog Seth! It is so amazing to see the prayer and preparation behind this major transition for my squad and I! Thank you for listening to God’s call and allowing the Spirit to work for us. Being here in Lesvos is definitely mind blowing. It is hard to believe how perfectly God orchestrated our travel here, and all of the pieces to the puzzle.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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