By Bria Isaacson, News Editor
GO InterNational and a team of Asbury University students, some of whom will volunteer in a refugee camp in Greece in December, are implementing a unique fundraising event for the trip. They built a refugee camp on Reasoner Green on Nov. 3 and will stay there through Nov. 5.
The camp, called Camp Jewel for its location by what used to be Jewel Road, will be set up to reflect the actual living arrangements of refugees in Greece.
According to junior Zach Jeffcoat, the project manager for the Greece team, the goal of the camp simulation is to educate students about the refugee crisis and encourage them to help.
Jeffcoat is one student who is involved in both the camp simulation and the mission trip to Eleonas, Greece. He decided to dedicate his time and energy to mission work in Greece because he believes the crisis there represents an opportunity for Kingdom work.
Young people have a special place in the Kingdom of God. We have the strength, energy, and freedom to go and represent Christ to the world.
“In my personal study of the Bible, I have seen that young people have a special place in the Kingdom of God,” he said. “We are literally built to be sent out. We have the strength, energy, and freedom to go and represent Christ to the world. This is our season to be servants in the world and physically help with God’s ‘kingdom come’ plan. For me, the decision was an easy one: I had the opportunity, so I said yes.”
Asbury’s public relations (PR) class is assisting with set-up and marketing for Camp Jewel. Junior Rachel McClain is a member of this class and has the role of event logistics team leader.
“The goal is of the camp is to provide a unique way for people to experience and learn more about the refugee crisis happening all across the globe,” McClain said. “There are thousands of people displaced from their homes as we speak and our hope is to show the students…that the refugees are people, just like us. They are doctors, lawyers, teachers [and] middle-class citizens who now have no idea how to provide for their families because they have been forced out of their homes.”
Although the camp simulation will not be exactly like one in Greece because of classes and chapel, the team is striving to make it impactful to the students and to test their Christian response to the crisis.
“We hope to create opportunities for the students to practice what it looks like to reach out to those in need,” Jeffcoat said. “When the camp goes up on the green, it won’t be easy to ignore. People have a choice to come by and see what it going on or to walk past.”
This choice to engage or to walk past mirrors the response to the actual refugee crisis, Jeffcoat said.
Students will have the opportunity to engage not only with the camp but also with a Donor Dinner on Saturday and a breakdown party.
Tickets for the Donor Dinner, which will be held at Great Commission Fellowship Church (GCF), will be five dollars and will be sold in the cafeteria and at Camp Jewel.
Following this dinner, there will be a breakdown party, where students can help break down Camp Jewel and celebrate the students and faculty who stayed there during the simulation.