April 7, 2016

‘We Are God’s Hands’ in Europe’s Refugee Crisis

, communication director, Trans-European Division

Fatima fled Syria with her three young children.

Fatima’s husband and her father were beheaded back home. She was on a desperate search for peace and shelter for her children. It was never her choice or desire to be stuck in a refugee transit camp at Hegyeshalom, on the Hungary- Austria border.

It was simply her least-worst option.

Fatima is among the tens of thousands of people assisted by the Hungarian branch of ADRA since refugees started to pour across the border in August 2015. More recently, borders have been closed and restrictions have been tightened, but about 10,000 refugees crossed Hungary every day for months.

“We saw families with small children who could hardly walk because of tiredness,” said Melinda Lőrincz, a representative of ADRA Hungary.

“Both fathers and mothers carried their infants and their backpacks with all their belongings,” she said. “The children were also whining and exhausted because of lack of sleep. Many of them were sick. They got cold because of sleeping on the ground in the open air.”

In such a situation, Lőrincz said, “We are God’s hands.”

ADRA volunteers offering hot tea to refugees at the train station in Dobova, Slovenia. (ADRA Hungary)

ADRA workers have shared similar accounts from Serbia, Croatia, and Macedonia. Across Europe, thousands of volunteers, church congregations, pastors, and often unknown but sympathetic people are sharing the love that God has put in their hearts to help people like Fatima.

ADRA worker Tünde Zohán recalled distributing food packages or sandwiches after rainfall in Hungary and seeing exhausted families sit down in small groups at the muddy side of the road to eat.

“We met many elderly and disabled people who were accompanied and assisted by their relatives or family members,” Zohán said. “We met ill children and adults who were weary and were shivering because of fever. Volunteer doctors examined them and gave them medicine.”

Zohán added: “Our souls were weeping as we experienced all these circumstances.”

Until the border closed, ADRA worked with the Red Cross and a local charity to distribute sandwiches, fruit, bottled water, clothing, shoes, blankets, and sleeping bags.

Even though the flood of refugees has stopped now, ADRA’s Hungarian branch has continued its humanitarian work by helping ADRA’s Slovenian branch in Dobova.

Select related stories about refugees:

Slovenia Recognizes ADRA’s Work With Refugees

Syrian Refugees Receive Bibles in Adventist Church in Norway

When I Invited a Refugee to My Budapest Home for the Night

After Death, Syrian Refugee Girl’s Light Shines at Adventist School

Teaching a Sick Muslim Mother About the Power of Jesus’ Name