By Hannah Stafford, News Editor

During the past summer, hundreds of Asburians represented Christ all around the world through short and long-term mission trips. Though the school year has barely begun, multiple other trips, both overseas and instate are already in the making. One trip in particular is being organized by senior Emily Houp and will take a team of 15-20 students to Greece during Christmas break. The trip will be December 9-21, and the estimated cost is $1550.

The team will be working at Camp Eleaonas in Athens through GoInternational. Camp Eleaonas is a government operated, long-term shelter for thousands of refugees from Syria, Pakistan, Turkey, Sierra Lyon, Guinea, Afghanistan, Jordan and Egypt. While at the camp, volunteers will be helping the directors, Andreas and Paula, maintain the daily workload as well as encouraging, organizing, planning, creating and loving on the refugee residents.

In my opinion, we should have been the first people to react to this crisis. Americans have been too silent

Houp was a part of the first American missions team to Camp Eleaonas this summer. “These incredible people are tired, wounded, bored, disheartened, discouraged, poor, wealthy, educated, illiterate, aggressive, unbelievably kind, hilarious and earnest to get out of this place,” she said. “They come from all walks of life.”

Houp further explained her passion for this trip, coming from a deep love for the people there, as well as heartbreak towards the lack of help they have received from Christians and Americans. “In my opinion, we should have been the first people to react to this crisis. Americans have been too silent,” Houp said. “This is not just an economic, political or racial problem. This is a world crisis. Thousands of families are being uprooted from their homes, their jobs and their comfort.”

As Greece takes in the refugees rejected by other countries, Houp praises their efforts. “Even when Greece cannot provide enough for their own people, they are willing to extend food and shelter to these refugees. Many economists have called it wreckless or irresponsible, I think it is the most beautiful act of selflessness displayed so far in history,” she said.

Zach Jeffcoat, junior and a member of the team, said, “For many people, this isn’t the time or the place for them; for most of them this season isn’t their ‘day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).’ But these people remember. They will remember you one day when they have settled into a new home in a new land with unfamiliar faces. Some will come to America and remember, ‘it was the American Christians who reached out to me.’”

So far, about 12 people are committed to go on the trip; however, Houp is eager to see more. “My goal as a leader is to solidify a team of 15-20 and raise over $5,000 to bring as a donation to the project we are working with.”

Sarah Boiney, sophomore, said, “I’m really excited to go because I’m looking forward to putting myself in a place and situation where I’m completely out of my comfort zone. I feel that God is calling me to serve his people in a radical way that requires some risk and trust.”

For more information on the trip, students can contact Houp, emily.houp@asbury.edu.