September 28, 2018
Victor Hulbert, Trans-European Division
When you have been inspired you need to visit. That was the case for Pastor Ted Wilson during his visit to the European Pastors’ Council in Belgrade, Serbia, 28 August – 2 September 2018. He specifically asked to visit the nearby ADRA Community Centre for refugees.
“What I’ve seen is just a tremendous blessing for these people,” Wilson reflected in a video interview recorded during a tour of the facilities.
As president of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church, Wilson had already taken a personal interest in the recent World Refugee Sabbath on 16 June. While not physically present during live programming streamed worldwide from the ADRA Belgrade Community Centre, Wilson nevertheless spoke to camera, expressing his passion and commitment to a caring church that looks after the dispossessed. Now he got the chance to visit the center itself.
Together with Raafat Kamal, TED president, and João Martins, ADRA Europe director, Wilson took time out of his schedule to visit the Društveni center, meeting refugees, and experiencing first-hand the work ADRA and its partners are doing in education, skills training, women’s empowerment, legal issues, social integration and sport or craft activities.
Igor Mitrovic, Country director for ADRA Serbia, explained to Wilson that the Društveni center, working together closely with the Adventist church, is intentional as a “a center of influence for the common good.” Mitrovic expressed his delight in seeing the personal interest that two Adventist leaders took in the project, equally noting how Pastor Kamal connected with the teenage boys involved in craft activities, chatting avidly with them in Arabic.
While the center is working primarily with those fleeing war and danger in their native lands, it also provides educational and social help for nearby local communities that are also suffering deprivation.
“When you see people in transition, people who don’t have a real home base, your heart goes out to them for there, but for the grace of God, you could be in that situation yourself,” Wilson noted.
“Today’s business man can easily be tomorrow’s refugee,” Kamal reflected after the visit, noting that some of the compassion in this crisis came from memories of war in the Balkans just two decades previously. “These people know how uncertain life can be, but also the importance to instill hope,” he said. “We have a ministry of compassion and I am so delighted to see ADRA Serbia, the Adventist Church, and other partners, playing such a significant role in the lives of these individuals. [tedNEWS]
World Refugee Sabbath programming impacts lives around the world (19 June 2018)
Lost but now found (22 May 2018) The tale of one refugee.
Street children, refugees and Adventist youth integrate in community choir project (16 November 2017)