By Jennifer Pang
In the middle of both the crisis and the pandemic, EuroRelief, a humanitarian NGO, is joining with others to meet the needs of people living as refugees in a camp on the island.
Andrea Wegener is the International Director of EuroRelief. She herself carries a story of partnership and collaboration, having been sent from Campus für Christus (Agape in Germany) through Global Aid Network (GAiN), the humanitarian aid partner of Agape Europe.
“The great thing about Agape, GAiN, and EuroRelief is that you know our DNA as Christians is the same,” Andrea explains. “We serve people, and it's not about us being the greatest. We have a clear humanitarian focus and we would not evangelise in the camp. Yet God is doing so many things in the lives of our volunteers… as they reach out to other people, they realise that ‘there is something beyond me.’ That is there only when you attach yourself to God and let His love flow through you.”
The love with which EuroRelief workers carry out their roles has even caught the attention of other NGOs. A staff member at a different organisation told a EuroRelief worker, “This is who you are. You don’t have all this ideology, you’re just with the people, and we respect that.” Andrea notes, “Not being driven by competition, which is common among NGOs, is also allowing us to bring different groups together. I am very humbled that we can sometimes take that role.”
The work of God through EuroRelief is most tangibly seen in the life-changing impact on people living as refugees in the camp. “These volunteers—they never talked about their God, but we saw that they knew God in a way that we did not know Him. They made us thirsty for their God,” says Mahmoud*, a young father from Afghanistan, who became a follower of Jesus at a tea house outside of camp. Growing in his new faith has meant that he has also started to joyfully serve his fellow refugees with basic practical needs, such as washing dishes, maintenance work, cleaning toilets, and doing laundry.
“The more we partner, the more we sense the global body of Christ,” says Andrea. What a beautiful picture of the body of Christ working together to see lives transformed.
“We’ve been able to establish a track record of contributing positively to university life and to the lives of individual students,” explains Helari, one of our staff in Tartu, Estonia.
“I would really like to share my faith, but I don’t know how.”
A few months ago, we started getting reports of a new, highly contagious virus in China. We heard stories of major cities shutting down. We prayed and shook our heads and kept an eye on the news.
It’s been over a week since I’ve been able to call my favourite pizza place and have them deliver the most delicious circle of cheese and grease to my door in under 15 minutes. That is all thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown here in Italy.