Our second day in the refugee squat began to reveal the brokenness and pain in the lives of our new friends. Tonight, we gathered to share stories from the day – a practice that has been incredibly important to our team. During the day, it’s pretty chaotic and we are individually stretched very thin for the hours we spend there. The kids we spend most of our day with are in “survival mode”. It’s hard to describe, but we just don’t have the ability to be aware of what’s going on outside of our circle of attention.

The most common item drawn and colored with careful, definitive precision: a house.

Some of the most powerful stories shared tonight revealed the mix of deep pain and steadfast hope these children have. We brought paper, coloring books, paint, and colored pencils to the squat today. A few members of our team spent the majority of their time coloring and painting with the kids. The most common item drawn and colored with careful, definitive precision: a house. None of us speak Arabic or Farsi, but we know now what every one of these children wants more than anything else: a house. They just want to have a home again.

The fights between the kids are many and surprisingly fierce. They are hurt, deeply wounded, and lashing out at others is common. Many members of our team broke up some very aggressive fights today, and I’m proud of our team for their nurturing efforts and patience. We are all sad for the pain these children have experienced. The eyes of these young people have seen violence, injustice, and trials many of us can’t begin to imagine. The pain is deep and these kids need to heal.

It was an exhausting day (it’s 2:00am as I type this) and yet our team is confident and hopeful that God is working through this. We have seen healing already take place this week and I’m confident it will continue. We know God has the power to restore and to heal. Tonight, I simply hope you will join us in prayer that the pain will begin to heal within these precious refugees.

“LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.” – Psalm 30:2


By Aaron Thomas of Restore Church
(Originally posted at “Beneath the Surface” on the Seeds + Water blog. Used with permission. Read more stories there of this team’s trip to Athens with SGI.)