Face to face with the horrors of the migrant crisis
The BMS World Mission Italy Action Team sees the reality of life for refugees fleeing war and persecution up close
The BMS Italy Action Team, based in the port of Reggio Calabria, has been there for barely a month and Sarah, Finlay, Jess and Laura have already seen around 2,000 refugees arrive, having been rescued from the Mediterranean. Some did not survive the journey with 12 people dead on board the first boat they saw.
“The reality of the images we see in the news came crashing down as we watched the bodies in their bags being carried off the boat,” Team Italy writes. “Silence followed whilst the continuous click from the reporting photographer captured the final stage of the dead migrants’ long journey to escape injustice here on this earth.”
The stories of some of the refugees Team Italy meet are desperately sad – a father with his baby whose mother had drowned, and a girl who was brutally raped during her journey. “Many have passed through Libya – they talk of people being shot for the colour of their skin or for asking for wages, and about mass shootings as people get into the boats, “ the blog says. “Ann [MacFarlane, BMS World Mission worker] has even seen a refugee come in with holes in his hands and legs from being crucified.”
Team Italy, working with local volunteers, do all they can to help the refugees in difficult circumstances that they see can easily go awry. “Everyone was hungry, some having not been fed since the night before,” they write. “Distributing the food quickly turned to chaos, as the beds were too tightly packed to reach everybody easily.”
What Team Italy has learned is that you must resist the temptation to view refugees as a single group of people. “It is so important to see them as individual people who have their own stories, their own reasons and their own pain, a viewpoint that is never portrayed in the media,” they say.
Pray for Team Italy, Ann McFarlane and other volunteers as they help these desperate people seeking a safer and more secure future.
Please share this story with any young person you know considering a Christian gap year.
Click here for more information about joining a BMS Action Team.
This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission.