To know their names, their situations, where they sleep, where they hurt and to assist and love people who cannot care for themselves: that is what OM workers in the Balkan region are aiming for. “We want to be the face of Jesus to those who need mercy and restoration,” said regional OM leader Volker Sachse.
The teams in the Balkans reach out to refugees, victims of violence, abused and trafficked women, the poorest of the poor, prisoners and their families as well as children at risk. The ministry of OM in the Balkan region spans four countries, each country and situation being unique and requiring a different approach.
In Serbia for instance, OM workers bring practical help in Adasevci refugee camp, full of young men from places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. All desperately hoping for visas for an EU-country, the refugees spend all day every day waiting outdoors in long lines for food or hygiene needs. OM’s big warm tent in the camp is a community space, serving hot drinks. OM also runs the camp laundry. The team is desperate to keep both the hot drink service and the laundry running, even during the coronavirus crisis, but is dependant on the availability of staff and finances.
“We have clearly seen that the hearts of the people in social, emotional and physical need are more receptive to Jesus,” said Volker. “They are often searching for truth, freedom from oppression or assistance through life crises. We believe it is also our responsibility to help these people in need just as Jesus did.”