Breaking fast in Greece

by Guest Author on June 14, 2016 in Great Commandment

The Lord is always good, but the Lord has been especially good these passed few days here on the island of Lesvos, Greece. The beauty here is unimaginable. The rolling hills, the glistening Aegean Sea, the Greeks whose smiles and warm nature always make your day. At times you might forget that just a couple miles away lies a refugee camp. While the tension and the hurt is palpable and real, I cannot deny that the very essence of God flows through every inch of that camp and the entire island.

As the days have passed in the camp, there have been families I've come to know and love, children who I could see playing on my street back in Plano and young adults who would fit in perfectly at my university.

How bittersweet is it that I get to put names and faces to the people I've only ever heard about on the news? This past Thursday, our team visited the camp once more for a 4 p.m.-10 p.m. shift. 

It's been a few days into Ramadan and the majority of the refugees have been too tired to protest or start riots. As we entered the camp, my teammate Madalyn and I saw two ladies from the Afghan family who had invited us into their tent earlier that week. We thought we were going to hang out for a little while but we walked into their unit and saw they had an entire dinner laid out on the carpet. I was shocked. 

Here I stood, a girl who has a home to go back to and who expected to "serve" these refugees who did not have a home to return to. There they stood, offering what little they had to share with me and my teammate. 

My first instinct was one of pride. I thought, ‘Oh no. I came here to bless them. I'm supposed to be feeding them not the other way around.’ 

That is when the Holy Spirit convicted me. Why should I be so prideful and not accept the blessings of others? So I chose to forgo my instincts and sit down with them to break fast. We watched them pray to Allah once it was 8:45 p.m. 

As we ate, we got to know them more and they explained that they loved Ramadan. They are so dedicated to their religion, despite the suffering they have been through. Their boat had capsized on their journey from Turkey to Greece and at one point all of their children were underwater. They barely escaped with their lives and yet they found ways to honor their beliefs. They've been detained in the camp for about four months and have no idea when they can move on. They spent the night praying, eating, singing and dancing with us. 

We found out later that if Muslims invite you to break fast with them, it is a big deal. Even the family members, the aunts and children who didn't practice Ramadan, weren't allowed eat with them, but they invited us Christians to dine in their household. It was such an honor and an experience I will never forget. At the same time it broke my heart. As they sat and prayed facing Mecca, Madalyn and I prayed as well. They were loving us just as Jesus called us to love others, but they didn't even know it. They fasted so that they could seek Allah. Madalyn and I prayed that they would find Jesus. 

Ginnie Yu, a senior at The University of Texas at Dallas, is currently a Go Now Student missionary serving in Lesvos, Greece. 

Texas Baptists is a movement of God’s people to share Christ and show love by strengthening churches and ministers, engaging culture and connecting the nations to Jesus.

The ministry of the convention is made possible by giving through the Texas Baptists Cooperative Program, Mary Hill Davis Offering® for Texas Missions, Texas Baptists Worldwide and Texas Baptist Missions Foundation. Thank you for your faithful and generous support.

Subscribe to receive stories like this one directly to your inbox.

We are more together.

Read more articles in: Great Commandment, Go Now Missions