In the last few weeks the world has been exposed to the stark reality of much of the refugee crisis that has been and is happening right now, writes Rachel Sinclair, International Project Worker at Glasgow City Mission.
Newsfeeds are crammed with petitions, opinions and heart-wrenching images. For me, it is so easy to look at the mass of people on the news and have a huge variety of emotion; feeling overwhelmed, helpless, frustrated, heartbroken.
However, the reality is that amidst that mass of people we see, there are individuals, those with history, with families and friends, with hopes and dreams. Individuals that carry their own host of emotions far above our own; of fear, of loss, of uncertainty, of confusion. It is these very same individuals that are crossing the doorstep of Glasgow City Mission most days – a step that is just one in a journey of many steps that have marked the search for new life and a new hope.
The same question keeps arising for me: not a question of should we help, but rather how can we help? I have been struck continually be the verse in Romans 12:15, the simplicity yet power of the words “mourn with those who mourn”. There are some things we cannot fix in our own strength. We cannot solve with words but we can sit and be with people. Day after day, I have the privilege of sitting with asylum seekers and refugees who are arriving in Glasgow, who simply want to share their story and be heard.
Robel has allowed his story to be shared of a two year escape from Eritrea, the trauma of the boat trip across the Mediterranean, a stay in Calais, before arriving here,
“No one can imagine the journey we have made" says Robel. "At 7 in the morning the boat cracked and water was pouring in. Most people they can’t swim, they screamed, they crying. More than 140 people died, I prayed for God to help us.”
This very same person is now living in Glasgow, rebuilding his life, applying for college and just last month was sumo wrestling at our Sports Day. It is a story like so many. One that can be repeated hundreds of times over, but it is still the story of an individual, a story that needed to be told and heard. He is an individual I mourn alongside for the pain he has gone through but can entrust to a living God who is sovereign and knows beyond what I will ever know of the hearts of each of these people we are meeting.
Read more of Robel's story in the new edition of our Connect magazine.
Glasgow City Mission provides an Internationals lunch on Thursdays followed by English classes. On Friday, we provide a safe, welcoming drop-in space for refugees and asylum seekers. Over 120 people from overseas now use our services – up from 12 three years ago. See our timetable for more information on when classes are on.
>> Refugee Crisis explained – a helpful video that explains the background and debunks some myths.