Creating with Refugees

By Kay Burklin, Jun 21, 2018

In the beginning, God created.

That's the very first thing we see God doing­—creating! So that's what we did too.   

Armed with paint and brushes, markers and paper, needles and yarn, fabric and thread, our short-term team served refugees in Athens, Greece, with art, a universal language that transcends culture, breaks down barriers, and speaks to the soul.

Some of the projects were simple, like watercoloring English verbs (and laughing with and at each other's work). The ladies also painted their pain, characterizing emotional words like "suffering" and "sad." One woman painted the flag of her home country and her heart, both ripped in two. I couldn't breathe.     

We swirled acrylic paints that created masterpieces. I will never forget the smiles and wonder on people's faces and the strong sense of pride in what they created. An older gentleman even did a little jig.     

One swirling motif reminded a lady of her treacherous night journey through Turkey. Another remarked the marbling effect was his life, a series of ups and downs. Another used very dark paint and inscribed the words "WAR" on top to depict his heart, which no one could see.   

The ladies “went to town with thread and fabric and baby onesies as well as paper and watercolors and markers and ribbons, which all felt like an old-fashioned quilting bee. One young woman could "feel the warmth in our hearts" and shared her story, both the pain of the past and her hope for the future.   

Creating provides nurturing. It heals hearts and brings smiles. It offers solace and builds community. It facilitates empathy and understanding, and a whole lot more.     

I think God started with a pretty good thing.

Kay Burklin serves as MTW’s refugee liaison for Europe.

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Pray for refugees in Athens, Greece, as they overcome trauma and begin a new life. Pray, too, for the missionaries and church community ministering to them.

Pray for a small church in Athens, Greece that is reaching out to refugees with the love of Christ. Pray for the refugees there to hear the truth of the gospel. 

Pray for ongoing work among refugees in Greece. 

Pray for the people of Mati, Greece, who are responding with spiritual openness following disaster response efforts of the Greek Evangelical Church and MTW. 

Pray for those impacted by the deadly wildfires in Greece. Pray also for wisdom as a team assesses how best to help. 

Pray for the growing Business as Mission work through the Glyfada Church Plant in Athens, Greece.

Pray for effective discipleship and evangelism in the church plants in Athens, Greece. 

Pray for the six church planters and the entire church-planting movement in Athens, Greece.

The First Greek Evangelical Church has planted a church in Exarchiea, the anarchist capital of Greece. Pray that God's presence would became known there.

Pray for college students to participate in global missions. Pray that they would a catch a vision for missions that would stay with them long term.


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