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  • Writer's pictureCheryl

Finding Community in Greece

Updated: Jul 8

Essay Prompt: What have you done to make your community a better place?

Think of community as a term that can encompass a group, team or a place – like your high school, hometown, or home. You can define community as you see fit, just make sure you talk about your role in that community.

I looked down at my watch— 11:00 pm. The generators would shut off soon. Our team had been in Greece for almost a week now, but the exhaustion of waking up at 6 am each morning and working till day’s end was already starting to hit. As I steered my weary body towards my tent a few yards away, I felt a tiny tug at my skirt. I recognized the little girl—she was in the nursery group. Her hand gestured towards the playground adjacent to us, and despite my very limited Farci and her being too young to understand English, there was no misinterpreting what she wanted. Eyelids still drooping, I mustered all my energy and gently lifted her onto the slide. In that moment, as I watched the pure whimsy on her face, I realized what serving my community meant. I was only going to be in Greece for about two weeks. At home, I had a stable roof, a warm bed, and a safe tomorrow. This girl had experienced more trauma and instability in her three years on Earth than I will likely ever face in my lifetime. She had seen war and terrorism, been uprooted from her home and torn from her loved ones. That night, however, she wanted to go down the slide a few more times before bed and I could help her do that. During that week, she was safe, loved, and had the freedom to just be a kid.

In the four mission trips that I’ve made to Greece to serve refugee families, I have had many “roles” — dishwasher, food-server, tent-pitcher, tea-maker, swim teacher, rock-climbing instructor, craft-time leader, and nursery caretaker — but these titles limit the bigger picture. My community is not restricted by miles. Rather, it has been shaped by venturing into worlds unknown for the sake of serving others, for they have endured much and rested little. I have been given able hands and breath enough to help, and if only for a moment, I can bring a sense of joy and sanctuary to those who need it most.

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