Students Return to Lesvos, Greece, to Serve Refugees

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In the beautiful Aegean Sea on the picturesque Greek isle of Lesvos lies what is often called “the world’s worst refugee camp.” Meant to be a temporary holding place for asylum-seekers coming to Greece from all over the Middle East, Moria Refugee Camp has become incredibly overcrowded, playing host to a varying population of between 5,000–10,000 people in a space about the size of a Costco.

This May, Cairn University took a group of 15 students and staff to serve in the camp for the second consecutive year. Since it is illegal to share the gospel within the barbed wire walls of the camp, they worked alongside other organizations to exemplify the love of Christ through action and deed.

Together with other volunteers and staff, the students helped renovate an entire zone of the camp (home to about 50 families) by tearing down old, moldy, and unsafe tents, spreading over 30 truckloads of gravel, rebuilding tent platforms out of pallets and plywood, and installing new UNHCR-donated tents. Additionally, students were able to find housing in the camp for about 100 new arrivals, all of whom made the harrowing journey across the sea from Turkey by rubber boat during the students’ time there. Other ministries included giving out vaccination tickets, supplies, diapers, and the students’ favorite—giving refugees their tickets to Athens.

“I saw God’s grace, mercy, and love through His constant presence and provision for both our team and the refugees in the camp,” said Kacey. “I left with my heart broken in a new and deeper way that reminded me that I can’t do everything, but God my Father sees everything and will make it all right.”

At their debrief, local camp staff encouraged the students that their “preaching without words” was truly part of an incredible evangelism surge happening in the Muslim world. They learned that over 1,200 refugees had been baptized in Athens, most of whom credit the testimony of believers coming to serve them in this refugee camp. The Cairn team was honored to play a small part in this big story God is writing.