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Refugees: The Most Courageous People You’ve Ever Met

04.07.21
by Crossworld
in Immigrant and Refugee Ministry, Mission work, Spain, Story
Twice Farouk fled his home in search of hope and a future.
SPAIN — Farouk was too young at the time to understand why his family was running away. They fled their home, leaving everything behind, when violence broke out in western Africa years before. They ran until they arrived at a refugee tent camp in the Sahara desert.

Farouk grew up in that refugee camp. He and the others in the camp walked miles to haul water and waited in long lines for food, hoping there would still be some left when their turn came. With little protection against the elements, they sometimes struggled to survive the cold, heat, wind, and dust. But as long as they endured, they fought to keep their culture alive by passing down the skills and stories of their people to even the youngest among them.

At age 16, Farouk met a young woman in the camp. They soon married and began to dream of their future life. But just a few years later, the government selected Farouk for an educational program and sent him to a nearby country to study.

Some of his experiences — like learning English — expanded his worldview and contributed to his future dreams. Others, however, threatened his life — like witnessing the Arab Spring protests and ensuing civil war.

After four years there, Farouk returned to his tent camp in the desert and reunited with his wife. Their dreams started to become reality when they welcomed a daughter.

But Farouk struggled to provide for his family. Despite his education, he couldn’t find work. No matter what they did, they faced the same old struggles — fighting for food and still going to bed hungry.

Perhaps in Europe, Farouk thought. If I can just get to Europe, I know I’ll be able to find work.

“I must go alone,” he told his wife as they discussed the plan. He knew their young daughter wouldn’t survive the grueling journey, and his wife, newly pregnant, would be safer staying too.

So Farouk said goodbye to his family and left with a group of refugees headed for Spain. He was on the run again, only this time — unlike when he was a child — he understood. His eyes focused on freedom ahead, while his heart beat for his family in the tent behind.

Two months later — after enduring attacks, robbery, and abandonment by several who turned back — the group landed on the shores of Spain. That’s where he met Crossworld worker Jennifer, whose team offers practical help and gospel hope for the refugees arriving in droves.

Farouk’s story is repeated over and over in those who turn up at Jennifer’s refugee center. They’ve never known a stable home. They’ve suffered racism, rape, and the loss of loved ones to the sea. They’ve given up everything for the hope of a better future.

“While most of the world sheltered in place, these people ran for their lives,” Jennifer said. “Every one of them is the most courageous person I’ve ever met.”

Here’s how you can pray for this ministry.

  • Farouk’s family is still in the tent camp in Africa. Pray for him to find work so they can be reunited soon.
     
  • The center currently provides food and helps refugees seek asylum from the government. Pray for other creative ways to show refugees the hospitality of Christ.
     
  • The hearts of these refugees have been beaten up by months of terror before they arrive in Europe. Pray they will find the hope and peace they seek, in Christ.
The people in this story are real, but their names have been changed to protect their privacy.

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