The last four months I have been watching refugees arrive in Croatia, and it had a strong effect on me to pray for them.

I, too, have been through war and refugee days and I know all too well the feelings of fear – fear of getting hurt, fear of being separated from my family, fear of loss, fear of the unknown when you are powerless and lost somewhere far from your home.

I know also what it means to have an arm of salvation open toward you, to have good will shown to you, to have help in those moments.

I think about the peace we received from God. Can we share it with others, show our love and make someone happy – in this place, in this refugee camp, in the middle of their terrible journey, show love to a stranger just passing by?

There is a railway line going through the camp, and this is where the train arrives. These old, decrepit trains arrive with hundreds of souls in them, each of them with their life story.

They sleep and they dream. Each soul is on a long and difficult journey, just so their families can escape poverty, misery, war and hunger. Neither winter nor snow will stop them on their journey.

They disembark and walk through the snow and cold lost, confused, tired; they are men, women and children, all sleepy and crying.

Now it is even harder to watch them. Among them there are a lot more children and pregnant women. And the picture is that much more painful because there are a lot more of them with health issues, blind people, invalids and old people in wheelchairs.

Jesus comes to us in unexpected ways, right here and now. How do we see him today?

Our Jesus has a lot of faces in the camp. Some are small, some are big, some are hungry, some are dirty, mostly frozen, scared, worried, grateful, even smiling.

I hope that Jesus is happy because we are there. We are tired, but like the refugees we are persistent. We are happy when we manage to bring a smile to someone’s face.

We are grateful and happy that the Lord God has shown us the mercy of cooperating with him in his work, suffering and mercy.

We give thanks for all who have prayed, and still pray for us, all who have sent help, gathered money and helped distribute the aid. We are thankful for all of our volunteers who are working hard, day and night, serving in the camp.

How wonderful it is to live in peace, joy, prosperity! We would say, “Well, all people deserve that,” but not all can find it in their surroundings.

There are those right here and now, who are torn from their loved ones, those who lost their loved ones forever, those who lost everything in the war, those who are in fear, those who cannot feel joy or have a chance to eat a hot meal and rest for at least one night in peace.

We are able to offer the necessary help and nourishment to these people – people different than us, people of different races and faiths, but people who are in trouble.

We are here to offer a smile, a kind word, a glimmer of hope during their short time between two train rides with a wish that somewhere they will live better, in peace and prosperity.

I want to make you aware that the refugees come out of a great need (long wars, completely ruined country and destroyed society); they are ready to risk their lives and the lives of their loved ones.

They mostly come from war-torn countries; they are the victims of conflict, persecution; they are traumatized but they are thankful for everything they get from us.

They mostly ask us where they are and how much this will cost them. They cannot believe that everything here is for free, and a lot of them are thankful.

Our wish is to be the embodied hand of good. We want to bring Christ the Savior closer to all people in need, but to also be a witness of the gospel to the people living in our own country.

We hope and believe that these people will one day find a safe and warm home. It is on us to answer the call and serve God and humanity.

Nada Jović is team coordinator for Croatian Baptist Aid. A version of this article first appeared on the European Baptist Federation news page and is used with permission.

Editor’s note: A photo news story covering Croatian Baptist Aid’s refugee relief initiatives is available here.

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