Rain could soon turn to snow

Post Summary: 

Our photographer Laura Reinhardt returned from Serbia this week, where she was meeting refugees and capturing their experiences as they passed through.

Written last Friday: see Serbia through her eyes, the current conditions in which these refugees are living, and the cold, damp future Laura sees in store for them.

***

It rained last night in Belgrade. For most of the city’s residents, that weather front signaled that autumn was on its way. But for the refugees and migrants staying in the parks of Serbia’s capital city, the rain meant a miserable and cold night out in the elements.

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    A day I will never forget

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    The heartbreaking, eyewitness account about a Syrian refugee boy, 8-year-old Ibrahim, and the abuse he endures as a field laborer in Lebanon so his family can survive.

    Hear the testimony of our Lebanon staffer who met him, and her call for help on this International Day of Peace.

    ***

    Saturday, July 25, 2015 is a day I will never forget. My family decided to hold a big gathering in a village in northern Lebanon—a place we visit every summer. I told them that it might be difficult for me to join. They insisted on my presence. It turned out that they were preparing a small surprise to celebrate my birthday. I promised to join them at night, as I had to work in the Bekaa Valley that morning.

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      The emotion of a simple gesture

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      Right now, our writer/photographer Laura Reinhardt is on the Serbian border with Hungary among the refugees from Syria.

      Meet with us this family of three that Laura met in passing yesterday, and hear why this father is making their long, difficult journey for the sake of his infant daughter.

      ***

      Just before I left to come to Serbia, my husband and I strolled to a nearby grocery store. As we passed someone on the sidewalk, I moved ahead of my husband to allow room for the other person to pass. My husband put his hand on my back, a way to keep a connection even if we no longer walked side by side. Just a simple, but loving, gesture.

      Today, I saw a man do the same thing with his wife, and in the circumstances, it broke my heart.

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        Syria crisis: Nowhere to go

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        Meet Abdul and Noor. Last night and the night before, they slept on the ground near the Serbian border with Hungary. Our staff met them yesterday and for a moment were able to bring smiles to their faces.

        See the current situation for these Syrian refugees, what their journey has been like, and what their future might hold.

        ***

        The family sat on a mat in the shade of trees in a paved area near the border between Serbia and Hungary. They had slept on the ground near the border the night before. Teasadi, the mother, says “sleep” and pantomimes sleeping with her hands folded under her tilted head, then pats the ground.

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          When we are bit players in someone else’s story

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          In Europe and the Middle East, a story has been unfolding for more than four years, and the "small, unexciting acts of love" that we can make are part of it.

          Today, blogger Addie Zierman writes about the big, beautiful story God is telling, and how we're all involved.

          ***

          I was reading about the Syrian refugee crisis in the news yesterday morning, and I had to keep referencing a world map. Though I’d looked it up before, back when the war started, I couldn’t quite remember — where was it again? And where are Jordan and Lebanon in relation to the Mediterranean Sea, and why are refugee boats capsizing in it as they flee, flee, flee an awful, confusing, devastating war?

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            Humanitarian heroes

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            Thirteen years ago today, 22 aid workers were killed in a bombing at U.N. headquarters in Baghdad. In remembrance, August 19 was declared World Humanitarian Day to honor all those who have lost their lives in humanitarian service and to celebrate the spirit that inspires people to serve.

            With 45,000 people serving World Vision in nearly 100 countries, today we honor those who work in the hardest places. Read the stories of three humanitarian heroes working in the newest and most fragile country in the world: South Sudan. After decades of fighting for independence, South Sudan became a country in 2011 and has been embroiled in a civil war since 2013.

            ***

            Madeleine Bilonda

            When you see her, she is smiling.

            World Vision’s leader in Warrap State, South Sudan, Madeleine Bilonda is Congolese, the mother of six, a medical doctor—and seems to glow from within.

            Even in the hardest of places.

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              From bombs and bullets to paint and polish

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              One of our staff traveled to Lebanon recently to meet with journalists covering the Syrian refugee crisis … and met a challenge she didn’t expect.

              Today, meet one little girl whose simple act of beauty inspired a World Vision writer to move past the headlines and see the heart in the Syria conflict.

              ***

              A few weeks ago, I met a little girl named Alia. Her nose was dotted with freckles and her beautiful red hair ran down her back in a braid I’m certain her mother had lovingly done earlier that morning.

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                Education or bread

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                The stories of two 14-year-old boys who, living as Syrian refugees in Lebanon, have to be the breadwinners for their families.

                See how they balance the choices between bread and education, between pursuing their dreams and survival.

                ***

                On the third day of a life-skills training class, Samer*, a 14-year-old Syrian boy, missed the bus that would take him to the World Vision educational center. Heavy rains and a long distance were daunting.

                Nevertheless, he was determined to get there on time for the training. He borrowed 1,000 LBP [US$0.67] from his grandmother. This got him halfway to the center in a taxi. With soaked feet, he quickly walked the rest of the way and made it to the training on time.

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                  Our mother died because she ran too slow

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                  Today is World Refugee Day: a day of awareness and renewed committments to help those displaced by conflict and disaster.

                  Our team recently traveled to South Sudan, where they met a family of four siblings, orphaned and displaced by war.

                  Read their story.

                  ***

                  It was one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard a child say: “Our mother died because she ran too slow.”

                  I was in South Sudan where today, 2 million of 11 million people have been displaced by civil conflict.

                  The newest country in the world is also the most vulnerable in the world, displacing Somalia this year at the top of the list of most fragile.

                  11-year-old Abuk Deng Gop has no time to be fragile.

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                    Love in the name of Christ

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                    Would you like to know what great love looks like? Great love that inspires a man to lay down his life for his friends?

                    This incredible story of courage was told to me by my colleague, Paul Otto, a Ugandan water engineer in South Sudan

                    ***

                    Paul grew up in a World Vision-supported refugee camp in Gulu, northern Uganda. His nephew was sponsored by World Vision as a child.

                    He told me the story of Rich Moseanko, an American relief worker with World Vision since 1990.

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