There was a great article about the continuing flood of migrants coming into Greece in last week’s New York Times. Read it HERE – it’s well worth the five minutes!
“Stop the boat! Stop the boat now!” the captain of the Greek Coast Guard patrol vessel yelled over the bullhorn, turning a spotlight on the flimsy dinghy as it chugged toward this island in the Aegean Sea.
As the dinghy sputtered to a halt, a crowd of frightened faces squinted up into the light. Squeezed onto the 6-meter, or 20-foot, vessel were 30 Afghan migrants — men, women, children including babies — and their smugglers: two Turkish boys.
The interception occurred one Saturday night earlier this month. But the migrants, the smugglers and the coast guard officers are protagonists in a daily drama played out in this seven-kilometer-wide strait separating the island of Lesbos from the Turkish coast, one of the narrowest sea crossings between the two countries and a favored route for smuggling.
As I read this short account, I can’t help but picture some of the families that I now know and love – their desperation, their hope, their struggle… a father’s fervent prayers, a mother’s tired eyes, the resilient laughter of children.
There is no sign of the influx ebbing. According to Frontex, 14,000 migrants were intercepted at sea between Greece and Turkey in the first six months of this year, up 47 percent from the 9,500 stopped in the first half of 2008. In contrast, arrivals by undocumented migrants to Italy and Spain, also considered external E.U. border states, dropped by 70 percent.
The needs are overwhelming. More than anything, we need your prayers, as do our refugee friends! Pray for the governments of Greece and Turkey. As Paul reminds us, our struggle is not against men, but against systems and powers of darkness. Pray for our ministry team – for courage, endurance, and grace. Pray for the migrants and refugees – that they might know Hope, Peace, and Love.