What do forcibly displaced people need more than anything?
The answer is “acceptance.”
While on a trip in Greece, High school students from South Carolina served forcibly displaced teenagers from Ukraine. They provided Send Relief Care Kit items to Ukrainian refugees in Greece that were comforting, useful and demonstrated genuine care. Gifts were prepared in partnership with Send Relief and distributed by local believers and South Carolina Palmetto Collective student volunteers.
Bags were stuffed full of hoodies, wireless headphones, electric toothbrushes, thermoses, UNO cards and more! Teenage refugees were invited over for an activity day where the Palmetto Collective students prepared a full schedule of games and fun.
The Ukrainian teens exited the bus to smiles and cheers of celebration—their stressed expressions quickly turning into relaxation and giggles. There were big group games to break the ice, stations with crafts, English practice, soccer and hamburgers! But most importantly, the gospel was shared, and the love of Christ was demonstrated over and over in each loving expression, gift bag and act of kindness.
On a personal level, there were two brothers who were difficult to persuade to participate.
They stood off to the side and acted uninterested during most of the activities. The youngest volunteer did her best to connect with them, but eventually I felt led to sit across from the brothers at lunch. Knowing a common language, I struck up a conversation and learned they had only been out of Ukraine for a few short months and this was their first time participating in such an event. They were obviously nervous and skeptical but quickly warmed up when they learned I had recently been in their home city. One of the brothers, Daniel, was surprised to learn that his name has its roots as a Biblical hero, and his brother, Ivan, was not to be outmatched: “I think my name is in the Bible too!”
We praise God that these boys and many others heard the gospel and experienced love in a way that ministers to young people from South Carolina to Greece to Ukraine. A huge “thank you” to the First Baptist School of Charleston—your gifts were a massive blessing and helped to demonstrate the practical care of the Church!
Published September 29, 2023