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World Race Helping Refugees in Lesvos, Greece

Taylor Slagh arrived yesterday with the World Race on the island of Lesvos, Greece. Today she reports, “When I was holding a crying, naked, cold, wet toddler that just got off a boat while others were trying to find him warm clothes that’s when my heart first shattered.” She went on, “My hear…
By Seth Barnes

Taylor Slagh arrived yesterday with the World Race on the island of Lesvos, Greece.

Today she reports, “When I was holding a crying, naked, cold, wet toddler that just got off a boat while others were trying to find him warm clothes that’s when my heart first shattered.”

She went on, “My heart shattered for these thousands of people arriving by boat and the only thing I could do for them was find dry clothes that they could wear.”

Another racer, Joy Grayczyk said, “Two rafts flipped over while in the water and not everyone was recovered. We learned that a 4 year old boy went missing while on the water and could not be found…”

The World Race is filled with 20-somethings like Taylor and Joy who want follow Jesus wherever he would send them around the world. They were thrilled to respond to the refugee crisis on Lesvos.

Felicia Pena, a teammate, adds, “It’s a very difficult sight to see when these people arrive at the camp. They’re soaked, many are in tears and the babies are freezing. It’s emotionally difficult, but I can’t describe how happy I am to be here.”

World Racer Andrea Burrow, gives the details:

Friday morning we arrived in Lesvos, Greece to help with the mass influx of refugees. Multiple times, yesterday and today, all the volunteers have thanked us for coming. “You are an answer to prayer.”

A few days before we arrived, roughly 15 volunteers were taking in over 2,000 refugees in a tent that holds 200-300 people. Volunteers were nearing burnout and the workers were going to have to shut down the tent because there wasn’t enough people to handle the mass amounts of refugees.

Our group of 45 racers was a God-send.

Here’s how it works. Once refugees are smuggled into Turkey, they are then smuggled across the sea to Lesvos, a 4 mile boat ride. (You can see Turkey from the shore we are working at.) Smugglers charge each person 1,000 euros (or a discount rate of 700 on rainy days) for the ride. It’s basically a raft with an engine (that may or may not work) that holds 12 people with 40-60 people crammed in it. Not everyone survives the journey. Those who do arrive are wet, cold, and very close to hypothermia.

Refugees are met on the shore by Samaritan’s Purse, EuroRelief, and the United Nations. The boats are pulled in, medical treatment is given, and refugees are bused or walk to the first assembly point.

This is where our squad comes in. Inside a tent, water, snacks, and dry clothes are distributed. We put them on a bus to another assembly point, eventually leading them to registration to prepare them to leave Greece and began another long journey to their desired destination (Germany, Sweden, etc.), where they may or may not be given asylum.

People all over have the world have been very generous in sending supplies to help. Because the volunteers have been operating in survival mode, organization and administration has been virtually non-existent.

My team (6 people) has been given the assignment of taking inventory of the supplies. Although we are not working directly with the refugees, this is no easy or less important task. The supplies are useless if we do not know what we have or what we need.

It has been raining non-stop for several days now. When we arrived at the supplies tent, it had been majorly damaged by the rain and wind. 

We spend the day setting up a new tent; a military tent with instruction in Dutch. Thankfully we found a lady who spoke Dutch, and 3 girls and 4 guys set up the tent.

Tomorrow we will move into our new tent, organize and assess our supplies, and create a system for the supplies to be able to better serve and help the refugees.

We need your prayers!! Please join us in prayer for the safety of the refugees as they make the dangerous journey, for us to be effective in organizing the supplies to be able to get it into the hands of those who need it, and for the refugees to feel the love of Jesus through our smiles and helping hands.

Today, Kevin, our contact on Lesvos, wrote and said, “Thank you for your encouragement.  I cannot begin to tell you the life and sweet peace that has followed in the wake of the World Race arriving.  We were literally 24 hours away from probably having the camp close down or being given to different agency. God is faithful.”

I’ll continue to keep you abreast of what God is doing on Lesvos. If you’re interested in helping, let us know and we’ll try to plug you in.

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