This last April, I co-led our DTS to Lesvos, Greece to work with refugees. Most teams served in the camps for 2 to 3 weeks, but we stayed for our whole outreach, which was 9 weeks.

We knew that building relationships with the refugees would be our main focus during our time in Greece. Working under EuroRelief, we were asked not to bring our bibles inside the camps and to be very discerning when talking about Jesus. Our main outlet of sharing the gospel would be in serving them with the love of Christ. Each day inside the camp looked different, but most days were spent housing refugees, collecting and distributing clothing orders, playing with children and problem solving daily challenges.

After our first shift, our worlds had been reshaped by what we experienced. The word “refugee” became more than a word to describe a people group that we knew very little about, it had become names and faces of people that we shared life with over 9 weeks. As a team, we wanted to do more than serve in the refugee camp. We wanted to do something that would have a greater impact even after we had left Greece and that is how the idea of collecting stories came about.

When we had first arrived, the refugee camp was a detention centre. No one was allowed to leave. Half way through our outreach, the Greek government allowed some refugees outside the camp. This was to help defuse rising tensions as the camp was taking in new arrivals and having no where to put them. We as a teams really wanted to take advantage of getting to know our friends more, so each week we picked a day to hangout with a group of them. We walked around the city, ate ice cream, played in a park and listened to their stories. All of the stories we had the privilege of hearing had varying forms of tragedy, but all equally as impactful and deserved to be retold.

Stories Across The Sea is a collection of 11 stories told by our friends. Each individual story invites you into their world as they share of their life before fleeing their home country and the long journey that brought them to Greece. We hope as you read their stories it will shed light onto the harsh truth of what they’ve experienced. With the purchase of this book, all profits will be given to EuroRelief as they continue to serve the refugees on the island.”

Lauren Svatos

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