|Refugees at “The Oasis”|
It was close to 10:30 pm as Matt’s cell phone rang. Since he was out of the room brushing his teeth or something, I picked up the phone from his bedside table and answered it. “Hello?” “Hi, how are you? You doing good?” answered the male, non-native English speaker on the other end. “Who’s this?” I asked, a little leery. “You don’t know me. I am in Italy. I have phone number for Austria.” Click. I hung up without saying anything else, annoyed and convinced it was a prank call. As Matt walked into the room the phone started ringing again. “I’ll let you answer that,” I said, “A crazy person is calling you.” Matt answered the phone, his brow furrowed as he listened to the person on the other end. Walking out of the room, I heard Matt say, “Yes, I remember you.” “Oh, it’s someone Matt knows,” I thought, “Now I’m pretty embarrassed about rudely hanging up.”
A few minutes later, Matt returned to tell me about the conversation. It was a man he had met a few weeks before at the Oasis refugee ministry. At the time, the two of them had had a long conversation about God and Matt had given this man his business card. Amazingly, through the broken English, Matt was able to understand that this man had not received asylum status in Austria, so had taken the chance to travel to Italy to look for work. There were no jobs to be found for an illegal immigrant in Italy, so he had pulled out Matt’s card, got a hold of a calling card to call internationally, and used the English that he knew to ask Matt if he was aware of anyone in Austria that would hire him (illegally). Matt had to tell him no, he didn’t know of any jobs, and that we would pray for him.
As I sat there processing what I was hearing, I began to weep. What a desperate situation this man was in! It seemed like he was reaching out to Matt as a last-ditch effort before possibly getting sent back to his home country which he was fleeing. And I was touched that God had used Matt to make an impact in this man’s life in just one conversation. I wanted so badly to help this man, to be able to do something, but felt powerless. “I wish we could do something,” I finally said aloud. “But all we can do is pray,” I added, hopelessly. As I heard my own words verbalized, the light bulb went on. The first and best thing we can and should do for people is pray! God doesn’t lack the power, creativity and resources to change a hopeless situation. We’ve got to trust Him, to run to Him first with all of our worries, problems, and questions–in our lives and in the lives of others. Ultimately, everyone’s biggest need, to be rescued from eternal separation from God, has been provided in Jesus for everyone who believes. That gift of belief, or faith, requires the power of God to change human hearts. We can trust the God who changes hearts to be able to provide all of the lesser things in this life as well.
So I rejoice that even when I can’t see how things could possibly work out, that I can do something. I can go straight to the One who can help in all situations. Thank YOU for laboring with us in prayer!