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Hi friends! For those of you that don't know me, my name is Erika, and I have been given the opportunity to partner in serving the refugee population in Greece. I leave
in 21 days (and counting.) Ever since the Syrian refugee crisis has grown more prominent, I have felt personally convicted about my role. 

Naturally, most everyone has an opinion about “Syrian Refugees” but in the midst of all the opinions, all the news, and all the talk, it seems like those most affected by the crisis are stranded between “a rock and a hard space.” The reality is that this crisis isn't hypothetical for those that are directly experiencing it. News footage and social media have the power to influence positively and negatively, they can easily induce side effects of apathy and fleeting empathy, but to what end? With all of our freedom, all of our privilege, and plenty- I feel I have some responsibility. 

I have been praying for God to transform my heart and give me His desires since I was a teenager. Early on, I recognized human tendencies of fear, laziness, indifference, excuses and self-seeking behavior and prayed I would grow in holy boldness and godly courage, in-spite of my instinctive desires. Knowing my own heart, my nature, my emotions, knowing my thoughts (that can be deceitful above all things), I started asking that God would make me more like Him. It is simple phrasing, but the consequences could move mountains. A selfish, judgmental, jaded and removed heart like mine, might start to choose the things that God deems worthy. As a result, I might start to turn my efforts toward a kingdom that is promised to come, but is not tangible yet. "Unsettle me, Lord. I know my heart won’t choose you, unless your grace changes me." In scripture, Jesus constantly speaks highly of His Father and constantly models God’s heart through action, teaching, command and prayer. The bible is a pretty big book, but the gospel is not as complicated as we make it. Jesus says to love others better than I love myself, through Jesus’ example it is as simple as sitting and dining and spending time with people of all tribes, languages, socio-economical backgrounds, worldviews; with people who raise controversial subject matters and may have me acting counter cultural, and counter intuitive. The gospel changes us, it changes me. 

I can’t wait for the opportunity to serve in Greece. It has been over ten years since I have been to Greece, and nearly 5 years since I have worked closely within the Arab world. I hope for the opportunity to serve medically, to be a part of rescue teams meeting refugees on the coast (when boats arrive). But I also welcome more modest assignments, like serving chai and handing out dry clothes, holding babies and making relationships. I hope to speak redemption and restoration to a hurting and grieving population, and to help create a space of positive energy, and offer hope to any person I might come in contact with. As believers we know suffering and hardship are promised in this life, and conversation is bound to take place as I speak to many volunteers, locals and refugees on the subject of hope. 
I am inviting you to be my partner in this endeavor. I am asking my church to and my community to rally around and virtually, financially, spiritually and prayerfully participate. I will never underestimate the praying church. I know God’s heart shifts and moves, when His bride calls out.
With God’s favor, His name will be glorified and be declared sovereign and precious by every tongue, by every nation. Amen.

"And he made from one man ever nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having allotted periods and boundaries of their dwelling place, that they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out to find Him, though He is not far from each one of us." ACTS 17: 26-27

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