A home away from home: On Thursday, I was able to go to a refugee camp just across the border of Switzerland and Germany. I went with my friend Alice. I’ve driven by this camp many times…mostly due to taking the wrong exit coming home from the Basel Badischer Bahnhof (regional train station). It’s a familiar area now, and sometimes I drive this way home instead of the AutoBahn, just to feel like I know my way around – without my GPS mind you. It’s funny to think how unaware I have been to the surroundings I have been driving through on those particular days.
We didn’t do much….filled out paper work….walked around to see where we will be volunteering. The woman who showed us around and spoke with us was sweet. She is part of the pastoral care team. I liked her. I felt comfortable with her. I would go to her if I lived there. She’s Italian. She’s Catholic. She’s petit. She speaks four languages. You can tell, she loves these people. People would stop her in the hallway, to tell her they got an interview or some other kind of news. She’s always greeted with smiles. She say’s she hangs out in the lounge areas to just be with people…only going to her “office” when privacy is needed. She tries her best to communicate with everyone, at times using all four languages. I like her!
Faces: I loves faces….I love stories….I love diversity….I love seeing the differences and then the things of commonality. As we walked through the hallways…so many faces….so many skin colors…so many reasons to be here. So many cultures in one place; Africans, Middle Eastern, Eastern Europeans, and beyond. I look forward to learning from these brave, scared, sad, lonely, amazing people.
Our role? We will be helping with the children and mom’s with their babies. There’s a room for us, small yet decorated with all kinds of craft projects. There are couches and toys. A nice playground is right outside this room. We are welcomed there. Three volunteers at all times, no less, no more. As our hostess educates us on what it is like in this camp of over 500 displaced people – families, she is very clear with one thing. She understands the village we come from…Kandern. She knows that there are many “missionaries”, people of faith that have come to help and to serve. Our role at this camp….it’s not our mission field! These people are not a task for us. We cannot fix their lives, we are there to love…to give value and worth. I appreciate her words. They are needed and they are important.
Not our Mission Field! As I keep thinking about this statement over and over again….isn’t that all we are called to do, really? I am called to love God and love others. Not to save, not to fix. Purely to love. That is my mission. I desire to be with people who’s stories are so different from my own. Being a foreigner in a foreign land – I feel I can only imagine what they are going through in the smallest of ways. Having lived in Haiti – I can only envision the circumstances that may have brought these folks to this camp. Mostly…I look forward to having my life change a little, just by knowing these precious people who have found themselves as strangers in strange land!