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Walk with Simon- Ministering to Refugees in Europe
$505 raised
20% of $2.5k goal
7 contributors
4 Years running

Last fall the world witnessed the largest mass movement of peoples since World War II. From Nigeria to Sudan, Eritrea to Somalia, and Afghanistan to Syria, millions are fleeing their homelands, leaving behind everything in search of peace and freedom.

After selling the little they have, families pay for a spot in a raft - if they have more money they may make it onto an actual boat - and with nothing but the clothes on their backs they begin the perilous journey across the Mediterranean hoping to reach Greece. Ill-prepared and without the means to support an influx of residents, Greece has little more than dry land to offer the survivors. After landing on Greek shores, the refugees must navigate the collapsing conditions - begging for food and water, coping with injuries and illnesses, learning a new language, searching for family and friends, desperate for a helping hand and a safe place to rest.

As panic set in, the Balkan nations closed their borders, and refugees are now being deported to Turkey - separated from family - torn from hope. Thankfully many European citizens have been sending clothes, tents, food, medicine, and money to small NGOs who are otherwise struggling to provide adequate support, because of a lack of funding from the UN, Red Cross, and other international aid groups.

My time with refugees in Cadiz (Spain) with Fundacion Centro Tierra de Todos, in Lisbon (Portugal) with Jesuit Refugee Services' Pedro Arrupe Reception Centre, and in Calais (France) with l'Auberge des Migrants changed my understanding of the situation. Whether teaching English to people from several nations at once, distributing clean warm clothing, eating with these people who the world told me to fear, or listening to their heartbreaking stories - I learned that there is no greater grace than to have someone allow you to help carry their cross.

This spring the French government bulldozed many of the churches, mosques, schools, and shelters that the refugees and volunteers built together in 'The Jungle' - currently home to thousands of refugees from northern Africa and the Middle East (including Syria). It is a long process, but we are striving to provide essentials to the thousands who are once again suffering.

While in France I will assist with sorting+distributing donations, recording/registering asylum seekers, and assist with the English classes. I am also blessed to be on the board of a project created to provide garden plots to refugees and migrants in central-France. I look forward to helping with training our future refugee incubator farmers!

I am confident with your help I will be able to bring much needed aid & love to our brothers and sisters suffering in this crisis. This is where you come in!

Pope Francis has asked us to be open ... to listen ... to be courageous!

Thank you for your prayers and any small donation you would be willing to share in order for me to accept that challenge and minister to those who need someone to help carry their crosses, just as Simon - an immigrant - walked with Christ carrying the burden of a man he had never met! 


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