This morning I read an account of a friend who had just arrived to England. Nima fled his homeland of Iraq and first landed in Samos. For three years he lived in a tent in the "jungle" camp on the hills, built a life, volunteered at a refugee centre and made friends. Omid became like a brother to him. Together they traveled to England in hopes of becoming more than just despised refugees, but citizens. They have been separated, Nima doesn’t know what‘s happened to his chosen-brother, his life has been ripped apart- again. He has lost everything - again.
Gary and I met Nima and Omid while volunteering on Samos, a beautiful Greek island. From our vantage point, it seems a near-perfect place to seek refuge. It’s one of the greenest of the Greek Islands with beautiful turquoise beaches, just two kilometres from the Turkish border. But a closer look revealed destitute living conditions for the refugees and asylum-seekers: poor sanitation amenities, lack of water, long lines for often inedible food, and sharing ground space with rats, snakes, and scorpions. Certainly not the paradise we were experiencing. From the perspective of an asylum-seeker, it was not so welcoming, it was not home.
My prayer is that Nima, Omid and all our asylum-seeking friends will find a home where they can feel safe and secure here on earth, being absolutely cognizant that it’s only because of where I was born, I have the privilege of feeling safe. But more than that, I pray they find the safety and security in knowing Jesus, who came to free them from this world and give them the assurance of the next. There's security in hope and a future, that no matter what happens on earth, we are all just passing through, travellers who don't really belong here, we are temporary residents, foreigners, asylum seekers.
John 18:36 Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world... But now my kingdom is from another place."
Even in these crazy times, where life is anything but normal... God is.
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Matthew 6:19-21