You are looking up close at the front of a smuggler's boat used to bring refugees to the Island of Lesvos. You can see that the boat has been completely stripped of everything to maximize the load of passengers.
This unstable shell makes the crossing from Turkey very dangerous. The motor attached was only a few horsepower not sufficient to get the heavy load there safely. Some of the motors had a false shell over the engine to make it appear more powerful.
One refugee from Iraq told me he had to swim after the unstable boat capsized at the first wave they hit. The Coast Guard is patrolling in an attempt to save some of those who flounder in the middle of the channel.
On Sunday we met a family from Syria who had just made the harrowing journey the night before. They had been walking for six weeks and spend $700 a person to ride the boat from Turkey. They were laying on some jackets trying to warm in the sun. I noticed them and walked over. He immediately stood up and greeted me with his hand over his heart. He offered me some sunflower seeds he had in his hand.
We attempted to talk but he understood no English and of course we don't understand any Arabic. The atmosphere changed when I saw a very small cross around his neck made from a lanyard. I pointed and said, Christian? He nodded his head and hugged my neck.
We sought an interpreter who could help us converse. Amir introduced his wife, daughter, son and mother. He had come from a town in Syria where radical Muslims were destroying the churches, homes and killing anyone Christian. He made the motion of a knife cutting off his head. They were Coptic Orthodox Christians. Then he startled me by asking for prayer. Would you pray and thank God that we made it here safely!
We embraced as a group and prayed to our heavenly father together. When we finished they made the symbol of the cross and kissed our cheeks. Their thankfulness was clearly evident!
I don't fully understand the human tragedy that is going on in the Middle East and Europe but I can clearly see how desperate someone becomes to save their family and lives. Their smiles brought tears to our eyes.
This camp was built for 1,500 and today there is over 3,500 here. There are missionaries from various organizations and volunteers from dozens of countries to help. They could use more as they serve people fleeing from over 38 countries in the Middle East and Africa.
Cathy and I leave Lesvos on Sunday for our return back to Memphis. We pray that you have a blessed Thanksgiving in America. Cathy and I will visit Turkey tomorrow for Thanksgiving. Funny, going to Turkey for Turkey Day.
What an experience we have had with Kim and Jenny Garrity. Please pray as they also leave in three weeks and return to Germany for the holidays.
Cathy and Danny
Four decade veteran of youth ministry in churches, Youth For Christ and now is the Founder and Executive Director of Deeper Still Missions. Danny and his wife Cathy spend most of their time mentoring missionaries in Africa, Europe, Central America and North America. Future opportunities include South America and the Asia Pacific area.