In Search of Refuge

Over the past several years, the 10-man crew of the main Greek coast guard boat has had the depressing job of patrolling the front lines of the largest mass migration into Europe since World War II. At first they would find a single boat, maybe two, in a day. But by the end of summer, the Greek coast guard was totally overwhelmed. They encountered  boat after boat after boat—sometimes eight or ten in a row–filled with Syrians fleeing for their lives. More than a quarter of a million reached the Greek islands on their way to asylum in Western Europe.

The sheer scale of the migrant flight has left Europe with no articulate response. And goodness knows, we Americans are of little help.

But what is so soul-numbing is the utter desperation of the Syrian people.  Many paid smugglers more than $1,000 each for tickets onto a boats packed so far beyond capacity that the people knew they might never make it across the sea.  Still, they had to try.  When one coast guardsman approached a dangerously overcrowded flimsy rubber boat, a weeping man jumped up and thrust his infant son into the stranger’s arms, then collapsed in tears.

In the wee hours of a late September morning, the coast guard boat captain told his men, “Get ready to go for the next one.” He had already seen it on the radar—another inflatable dingy overloaded with still more desperate people. And another behind it.

Heaven help us all.


“What experience and history teach is this: that people and governments have never learned anything from history.”

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, German philosopher

About kaystrom

Kay Marshall Strom, who am I? Well, I’m a traveler, a railer against social injustice, a passionate citizen of the world. I’m a follower of Jesus Christ. I’m a 21st century abolitionist who speaks out against slavery of all kinds. I am a beach walker and a gardener and the off-key singer of songs. I’m a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend. Most people, though, know me as a writer and a speaker. So here is a bit more about that part of my life: Of my 43 published books, seventeen have been translated into foreign languages, and two have been optioned for movies. My writing credits include magazine articles, books for children, short stories, television scripts and two prize-winning screenplays. I love to write, and speak, about topics close to my heart. I speak at seminars, retreats, writer’s conferences, and special events throughout the country. And because I enjoy travel, I even speak on cruise ships. Because I don’t see how a writer can really reflect another people and land without spending time there, I’ve been trekking through India, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Nepal, Sudan, Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt, Japan and South Korea, tape recorder and camera in hand, to gather stories from the world-wide family of God. Thanks to my “virtual friendship” with John Newton, 17th century slave ship captain turned preacher, I traveled through Ireland. In West Africa I toured an old slave fortress off the coast and saw a tiny set of baby manacles bolted to the wall. I was struck dumb. From that horror came a story question, and from that question, my foray into fiction: The Grace in Africa trilogy. Come join me as I travel and rail against injustice. Maybe you will choose to be a 21st century abolitionist too.
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2 Responses to In Search of Refuge

  1. It is so sad what is going on over there. I pray for those fleeing. I pray that God will hide those fleeing on land from Isis. Recently I read that a group of Christians that were fleeing and were sure they were going to be over taken by Isis, but God caused a huge dust storm and they were able to escape. We need to keep praying for them to be invisible to Isis and others who want to kill them. We have a great God how sees their plight.

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