Tuesday June 20 was World Refugee Day, a day when people around the world recognize the plight of more than 65 refugees worldwide.
Five million Syrians are among those still in crisis. Thousands are temporarily housed in Greece where some are in desperate need of water and other life sustaining items.
Despite enduring hardships of their own, one church in northern Greece has partnered with CBN to bring them life-sustaining help and hope.
Three summers ago after masses of refugees and migrants flooded Europe, the walls finally went up to lessen the flow. Thousands ended up here – stuck in Greece, the first stop in the European Union.
Many of them like 20-year-old Syrian refugee Yasin al-Sharif are still waiting approval to settle in Western Europe.
“If I stay in Syria I will lose my future. I want to be in my future, something good,” he explained.
“And where do you want to go?” CBN’s Gary Lane asked.
“To Belgium, but I think it’s difficult. I think I will not go to there.” he replied.
“They may think you are Daesh, a terrorist,” Lane said.
“I hate Daesh, I hate Daesh, I don’t like it,” insisted Yasin.
He said he wants nothing to do with Daesh, the Arab name for ISIS, and he said the group has brought only death and destruction to his country.
Yasin is now living in a small trailer in a refugee camp in Alexandria. He says he enjoys regular visits and conversations with caring Christians.
About 85 percent of the members of Thessaloniki Apostolic Church are unemployed. While they’ve endured hardships of their own because of the Greek economic crisis, they are still reaching out to help refugees like Yasin.
“We saw that need coming to our door, coming to our city and we had to react,” explained Pastor Paul Dimitriadis. “So, we thought that we have to serve the love of Jesus and to try to do what is our best for them.”
Doing their best means providing food, clothing and other items to the refugees.
The church has received donations from throughout the world, like some green English tea that he showed CBN News.
CBN heard about the church’s work with the refugees and asked how we could help.
“The water pipes in the camp are very dirty, not drinking water. So, the monitor in the camp said, ‘I don’t have water for these people.’ We said we don’t know what to do. CBN, you came here and said how can we serve you, what can we do? And then we served the need for the water,” Pastor Paul said.
Enough water for each person at the Alexandria refugee camp to receive two liters per day for one week.
Yasin was just one of the recipients expressing gratitude for the help.
“When I heard of the peoples someone will give us water I be very happy because thank you very much. Really, really, really thank you!” he exclaimed.
Pastor Paul said the water not only blessed the refugees, but also his church because it helped build trust with the camp managers.
“That helped us to continue working there and speak for Jesus. That was an amazing thing.” he said.
Not only are CBN and its partners providing much-needed drinking water for the Syria refugees here in Greece, but also living water for the children.
Superbook in the Arabic language was recently introduced to Syria refugee children in Thessaloniki.
It was presented at the CARE Center – a day center for refugees supported by the Thessaloniki Evangelical Alliance of Churches.
“I didn’t know that it was a new version of Superbook but I really liked what I saw,” said worker Magda Petro. “The Superbook will be a great tool to be used for here at the CARE Center in Thessaloniki, and I’m sure that everyone will enjoy it.”
Timely help for refugees in need in Greece: fun, life-changing lessons for the kids, and life sustaining refreshment for their families.
“God sent the right people and when we met CBN and without asking you anything, you gave us your love,” Pastor Paul said. “That is a confirmation how the hand of God is takes care about the daily needs.”
This post originally appeared in CBN.