God has been moving in incredible ways and opening up more opportunities and locations for us to be able to serve, be a light and really respond in the Refugee Crisis in more locations along 'the Trail.'
These locations are open to those who are unable to serve for more than two weeks, yet are still open to those who still desire to serve for longer.
Athens is the main funnel by which every refugee who lands on any of the Greek islands must pass through before reaching the rest of Europe. Due to the rising problems with the border between Macedonia and Greece, many refugees are now turning back into the city of Athens, and with those coming in, the situation is getting chaotic. In the city, we are connected with YWAM Athens, who has multiple different Refugee Ministries to serve in, and there is always a need.
YWAM Dalarna has a number of refugee applicants staying in temporary housing while waiting for decisions on their applications in Sweden. Because of the large numbers that came, many wait for over a year. In the meantime they cannot work or go to school. We have contact in our city with a hotel that houses about 160 people, just hanging out with them, playing cards, talking or playing and doing crafts with the kids. In a nearby town we join a local church on Sunday nights at a cafe to spend time with those living there. In another town we have a weekly discipleship study group with a group of new believers from Iran and Afghanistan. About 15 were baptised last year alone and need training so we host Bible studies for the community that is interested.
The humble town of Bad Blankenburg has become home to 300 refugees hoping to start fresh. The young base YWAM Bad Blankenburg has great favour with their municipality's social department. There is incredible opportunity in the different ministries they have to help refugees integrate into their new lives through German classes, various workshops, womens and childrens programs, and much more.
There are perhaps more refugees settled into Berlin than there are in any other city in Western Europe. While the practical needs of shelter, food, and clothing have been well-provided for by the German Government, jobs are scarce and the refugees feel forgotten, especially the approximately 30,000 refugees still living in camps around the city. YWAM Berlin has developed deep relationships in several local refugee camps. We leverage our resources to bring joy and purpose to the down and out, to communicate the gospel truth that Jesus loves the refugee, and that we as Christians love them too, and that they are worth His and our sacrifice.
Nuremberg is integrating thousands of refugees into their new lives in Germany. Many are overwhelmed by language, culture, and how to function in this totally new way of life - struggling to find housing, jobs, childcare. We formerly ran a group home for teenage refugees for the city of Nuremberg. Through this project, there are now networks and resources into social work and helping to meet needs of our new refugee friends. With a mosque next door, a cafe ministry that serves many refugees, and an active art studio, there are huge opportunities for discipleship and outreach! There are also open doors to work with children and coming alongside local churches to serve the refugee community.
LONG TERM OPPORTUNITIES
These locations are open to those who are able to commit to serving a minimum of three weeks or longer.
The island of Lesvos has been the receiving ground for more than half of the refugees migrating through Greece. The island is still receiving hundreds of new arrivals monthly. On the island, YWAM Lesvos is paired with an organization called EuroRelief to operate the largest refugee camp on Lesvos: Moria. Approximately 3,300 refugees representing 44 nations are stuck waiting in Moria to receive asylum. The conditions are overcrowded and challenging. To serve the men, women, and children who live here, there is a constant need for volunteers to maintain adequate operation of the camp.
Volunteers must be able to speak English and are required to serve for a minimum of 3 weeks and a maximum of 8 weeks.
YWAM England's ship Next Wave will be sailing along the coast of Greece and Turkey, targeting areas in need, faced with the refugee crisis. Currently, they are docked at Myteline, on the Greek Island of Lesvos, and planning to serve there for the next few months, but ready to move if needed.
The island of Sicily, is one of the lesser known routes for refugees to enter Europe, but no less affected. Coming through Italy are primarily asylum-seekers from the war-torn nations of Africa, whether that be the terrorized Tunisia, the constantly beset by war Sudan, or the civil war wrought Libya. The YWAM base of Sicily, Italy, has a primary ministry of helping the thousands of refugees that have landed on the island in whatever way they can. They are running an Open House centre for the refugees, well as Discipleship Training Schools tailored to refugees.