Friday, July 15, 2016

Refugee Aid Fireside in South Jordan

Refugee Presentation
When: Sunday, July 17, 2016
Where: LDS Chapel
9894 South 2700 West
South Jordan, Utah, 84095
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Please join my friends Trisha and Axel Leimer ( a Seventy) at a fireside about their experiences meeting and loving refugees here in Germany.

for an informative and inspiring evening.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Videos from Greece: Petra Olympou and Oinofyta

ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief ) is running two camps we are helping at.  I've talked a lot about Petra Olympou and you can watch a video about that camp here :Petra Olympou

Here is a great article from ADRA.  You can see why we like partnering with them.  And Frank Brenda just LOVED the Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert on Saturday!

They are also running the camp at Oinofyta, where Lisa Campbell is one of the managers.  Our new missionary couple, Elder and Sister Prohaskas were at Oinofyta today and called with a whole list of ways we can help!  You can get better acquainted with Oinofyta and Lisa Campbell  here

Inside this building will be apartments for families.  But without doors, so no privacy.  We will purchase the rods and fabric so that families can install curtains .

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Borrowing from a Friend : Parallel Lives.

I was also at each event that my friend and collegue, Sister Eileen Healy, wrote about in her blog this week.  So, here is her blog post, with my comments added.  The Healys are serving in our old positions, training and coordinating all the Humanitarian work in the Europe Area.  They were a country couple in Indonesia, so they are better qualified than we were !

This past week has been an eventful one.

Monday and Tuesday, we trained a young Swiss couple who are serving as special service missionaries doing Refugee Aid in Greece for 3 months!  Cool idea, huh?  The Prohaskas' have time off from grad school and were looking to fill it this summer.  They received a shipment of hygiene kit stuff the day they got there and are off to their first camp tomorrow.

On Monday evening we celebrated Independence Day by having a picnic with the other senior missionaries.  The weather was beautiful, the food was delicious, and we enjoyed the company.

Delicious food: Sloppy Joes!  Lays potato chips!  Lemonade and root beer floats.  And incredible brown sugar nut cake that Sharee Lee Swenson made. I introduced Elias to the joys of sparklers. He and his friends live in an apartment in the same building as the senior missionaries, up the street from the temple (which is closed, which is why the apartment is available).
Missionary sisters at the garden. Sister Enger is in the middle with the blue stripes on white without a purse. 
Every Tuesday evening for one hour Sister Engers who is a native German teaches a German class for the senior missionaries.  She always is creative in her approach, and it isn’t threatening for those who have challenges with learning a language.
Sister Caracena with an overly friendly neighboring gardener.

 This past Tuesday we went to Sister Enger’s garden.  In Germany there are large garden plots in a community area where families can rent a spot for a year for a nominal cost.

These are no ordinary gardens. I believe just the Enger’s garden is 300 square meters.  It is large enough that there is a little house/large shed complete with a cot inside, and there were 10 chairs outside for us to rest on while we visited.

  It was obvious that Sister Enger finds great joy in her garden. She has about 7 different kinds of fruit trees, 6 kinds of berries, lots of vegetables and a multitude of blooming flowers.

We took a tour of the garden looking at the German labels, which she had placed throughout, identifying each thing in her garden.

It was quiet and peaceful as it is against the law to have any kind of electronic items in the garden area. It was a beautiful place to relax and enjoy the marvelous creations God has given us for our enjoyment.

Kleinegartens are one of the traditions of Europe that I wish I could transport to the US.  Plus the rainfall which makes them so beautiful and verdant!  Three of us were wearing blue and white striped shirts: I got mine in France since it's a French thing, but it appears to be in style at the moment.  Who knew!

After our visit to the garden Sister Engers took us on a short walk to visit her husband’s gravesite.  Brother Enger passed away last fall at the age of 61 after a short battle with cancer.  She misses him terribly and told us how much they used to enjoy their garden together. I (Eileen) appreciated her willingness to share a very personal part of her life with me.

Erika asked if I wanted to see Joachim's grave: I am the only one of the senior missionaries who knew him.  He was just awesome.  He taught Gospel Doctrine in the German ward and we'd compare ideas.  He had an amazing library, especially for a German: you have to 1. read English really well and 2. import all those books from the US!  She sold them at the Stake Women's conference I spoke at and we ended up buying about 20 books.
Everyone else came to the gravesite as well.  I think Randy and I will plan to go visit her there on our own sometime

Thursday Eileen and some other senior missionaries visited a refugee camp to celebrate the end of Ramadan.  There were many Germans from the community who came. We all brought treats of some kind or another.

Much to our surprise some of the women who lived in the camp brought out food that they had cooked themselves. They were very proud of being able to share some dishes from their respective countries.
Mother and son from Afghanistan
Despite the language barrier it was fun to see a celebration that spanned several different cultures.  I wished that I could speak Farsi, Arabic, Turkish and German so I could communicate better with the families.  The best I could do was to use their children to translate. I would find a person that spoke English, who would then translate to the children in German. The children would then translate to their parents in their native language.
Melissa Dalton-Bradford and brother, Aaron Dalton, sing for the party
At the end of the party one of the sisters from our ward sang in German to the visitors at the party. Melissa’s brother is visiting Germany as a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They both sang “God be with you till we meet again” in German.  A man from the camp introduced Melissa and her brother in Farsi and explained the significance of the song. I always love to hear this song. In our church we frequently sing this song at the conclusion of a conference or other important event.

It was Eid at the end of Ramadan, so time to celebrate with food.  This is at the new camp where the residents all live in campers/motorhomes.  It's not perfect, but they have their own cooking space which is great!

Saturday morning, Randy and I took the bus into town, met his niece, Dorothy Brown Larson, and 3 of her friends in the Choir and took them on a tour of the city.  My favorite moment was when a young man from France saw my nametag and stopped and asked how to get baptized!  He was [obviously] Mormon and had driven with his parents 16 hours from the south of France to hear the MoTab!  I took photos for everyone, but didn't get one myself.  Maybe Dorothy can send me one when she gets a minutes (like next month!).

Elder and Sister Healy.  Thanks for writing about my week!
Saturday evening we had the opportunity to attend a concert presented by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is composed of 360 volunteer singers ages 25-60.  They practice and perform weekly and were accompanied while in Frankfurt by the Orchestra at Temple Square.  We have known individuals who have been a part of the choir. The time commitment is very demanding and some travel long distances to attend the practices and performances.

This is Constanza (our dept. executive assitant) with the Reina family. We arranged for her to get free tickets so she and her husband could take his mom, who is here visiting from Brazil and has never heard the MoTab in person before.  Thanks to E&S Jensen who left town and couldn't use their tickets!
We met so many people on the patio outside the Jahrhunderthalle where the concert was.  All our refugee members : Vahid, Samuel, Elias, and Mohammed.  A photographer who came from Austrailia and has been following the Choir at all the concerts.  Tons of senior missionaries.  Ward members meeting up with family from other countries.  It was wonderful.

Frankfurt was one of the many stops during a three week trip for the Tabernacle Choir. This is the first time they have performed in Frankfurt for 25 years.  In his greeting to the audience, Brother Newell noted that the choir and orchestra members are all volunteers and that they trace their roots through Europe. To demonstrate, he asked all the performers to stand who had family connections or roots in Germany; it appeared that there was about two-thirds!! that stood. He then asked how many had roots or family connections in Europe; all of the performers stood.

The choir did a tremendous job.  The acoustics in the performance hall were excellent, but either there was no air conditioning or it wasn’t working.  It was extremely warm. We empathized with the choir members as they stood during their whole performance.  The first half of the concert was music which was very intricate and difficult.  They performed pieces from Handel, Bach and other composers.  Most was sung in another language, perhaps German or Latin.

They did some great Handel, Holst, Rossini, and Gounod, followed by a medly of Requiem Aeternam from Wilberg's own Requiem, Agnus Dei from Albright's Chichester Mass, and Alleluia by Ginastera.  All of which was NON STOP, segue-ing from one piece to the next. This part ended with Bach and Wilberg's Hymn of Praise.  Really amazing.

French friends: missionary companion marries sister, meet friends from 20 years ago
During the intermission I met up with French boy! It turned out that his sister married his old missionary companion and they live in our ward!  Then I met and had a lovely chat with Frank Brenda,  director of ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) in German.  We spent a day with Frank in Greece at the Petra Olympou camp on Mt Olympus.  We had arranged for him to get VIP tickets to concert so I hoped to see him there: he LOVED it.  

The second half of the concert seemed lighter.  There was a Nigerian folksong complete with a variety of percussionists [Betelehemu]. Also included were some American folk songs [I really liked Battle of Jericho and Deep River.] My favorites were the arrangements of LDS hymns; Come Thou Font of Every Blessing and Come Come ye Saints.
Their rendition of The Spirit of God took me right back to Kirland. . . . 

The choir received a standing ovation.  In closing they sang God Be with You till We meet again.  This was sung in German and is entitled Auf Wiedersehn.  It was a lovely ending to the evening. I saw several among the audience wiping tears from their eyes.  I have posted a video of the choir singing the song as the last picture below.  I can't get the video to work: I will try to get a link and post it later.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Greece : Oinofyta Camp north of Athens

This is a letter we received from Greece this week from a camp where we have members working and volunteering.  Oinofyta is one of the few camps organized under principles of SELF-RELIANCE.  We love it.

We have missionaries in Greece who are working on meeting some of these needs, but if you are interested in getting involved with helping this camp, the contact information is at the bottom of the letter.  Contact Lisa Campbell directly.  She is awesome.

Hello all,

I hope this finds you all well. The last few weeks have been very busy here at Oinofyta. We have filled all of our tents as well as one of the large ‘entertainment’ tents. The original estimate of the capacity of our 50 tents was 400, but that was based on putting 8 people in each tent. Our colonel is against putting people in a tent together who are not family and so we have some tents with 3 or 4 residents and one tent that has a family of 8 in it. We do have some shared tents, but those are either friends or extended family. Our singles are in tents together, but only 5 to a tent. Our current population is 250. The majority of those are families and this morning when we received a new family, the count of families was up to 53 plus 3 tents with singles in them.
They began the build out in the factory a few weeks ago and the sleeping quarters are now close to completion. The bathrooms and showers are not ready yet, and it will be another month until all of those are completed.
Our original goal here was to provide the Sew and Seed project, and possibly help with some organizational processes, but that has expanded exponentially. Because this was a small camp initially, none of the ‘big’ NGOs were interested in operating here so Do Your Part and AdventistHelp became the only NGOs working here. We have been joined by a few others now and are a very well-organized camp.  

Last month, Sea of Solidarity donated an IsoBox container to the Adventist Health team at Oinofyta camp to be used as a medical clinic. Markus Alt has done wonders to outfit it.

This week, Dr. Michael-John Von Hörsten finally made it to the camp. Here are some pictures of the medical clinic that Michael-John took. 

Lisa Campbell (2nd from rt)
In the past few weeks we have completed the chicken coop, ordered a new kitchen setup that will provide identical burners, controls and gas bottles for all of the stations and will have automatic delivery each week. The gas company is going to train 5 of our residents in how to properly use the gas bottles and burners so that it will all be done properly and safely!  

The garden projects are going very well. ArmandoAid has provided micro gardens to all the residents who want them. They found a tire place that is willing to give them the tires for free (so they don’t have to pay the disposal fee) and are putting them outside the tents with herbs, tomatoes and other plants that can grow in a small space. It is nice to come in to the camp and see some green growing! The containers have had to be put on hold as they try to figure out how all of the waste water is going to be handled when they fill the new quarters. The containers were being built in the space near the septic tanks. There is a large septic tank in place, but when they double or triple the number of showers, sinks and toilets it will need to be pumped out daily if not more often.

We have been tasked with providing much of the infrastructure here because the government cannot handle the financial requirements. We are looking at bringing in a new electrical line to serve half of the camp. The first estimate I received was for 7,500 euro. I have two more companies coming in to see if we can get a better price. The government will pay the bill if we can bring the service in.  We have also been trying to get a DSL line in so that the residents can have WIFI. This has been a very hard task because we don’t have a VAT (Tax) number for Greece yet (we have applied for it, but like most things here in Greece, it takes a long time). We have finally gotten around that hurdle thanks to Disaster Lab Tech and their connection to a local NGO that is willing to allow us to use their number for the DSL contract, but we can’t seem to get the company out here to install the line. This has been one of the biggest frustrations for the residents. They have to purchase data for their phones so that they can communicate with their families back home or in Europe.   
In looking at the new sleeping quarters and speaking with the general contractor, there will be no doors provided. This is unacceptable to me because they will need their privacy. We are pricing out 107 expansion rods and curtains to provide privacy for each of the rooms. There is also no electricity being provided to the individual rooms, so I am getting estimates on that too.
We have also had many visitors to the camp from various organizations. We had a visit from the EU Humanitarian Relief agency and they were very impressed with our program here. They spoke with me for about an hour and were furiously scribbling notes to present to other camps on the projects we have. The UN Health Services representative visited as well. With the build out in full swing, we have also had visits from many Army and Air Force personnel and members of the Ministry of Migration. On Saturday the Minister of Defense will visit our camp.

Last week we had a team of journalists here to document the stories of the refugees. They will be putting their work on the internet. Their organization is called Their Story IS Our Story.  Most of the residents were willing to interview with them to have a chance to tell their story to the world. I am looking forward to seeing the completed work.
Last night our residents celebrated the end of Ramadan and we provided the means for them to have a huge feast, we were invited and enjoyed a wonderful meal with dancing and singing provided.
We have had a commitment from a very generous donor family to build an Education Center for our residents. The center will be housed in a prefab building that will be set up onsite and will have 20 computers and 4 printers for the people in the camp to use. This wonderful donation will allow our residents to continue their education or get an online degree. For the teenagers this will allow them to get back into their studies and graduate from school.
Thanks to another generous donor, we have been able to provide a new prosthetic leg to one of our residents who lost his leg to a bomb 6 years ago at the age of 13. He walked from Afghanistan through Pakistan to Iran and then to Turkey on his old leg. It was an old leg when he got it and it was broken by the trip. He jokes with us that he is going to donate it to a museum when he gets his new one.
Each week we are providing around 600 kilos fresh produce for the residents to supplement the food provided by a contracted caterer. There are no fresh vegetables or fruit provided by this company with the exception of one orange per person per day. We also provide rice and cooking oil for them. The cost of just these weekly deliveries has grown as the numbers have grown and now we are spending around 750 euro per week to ensure they have a balanced diet.
We are working with several suppliers to try to get the best price on regular shipments of the consumable products like shampoo, laundry soap, dish detergent and such. These are the everyday items that we all take for granted, but they cannot provide for themselves since they are not allowed to work.  
We have had another new baby born in the camp, and now have a one month old and a 12 day old. Tomorrow we will have our third baby born by a scheduled c-section. We are working on renting an apartment so that these new moms don’t have to come home from the hospital to a very hot tent with a newborn. Our mom and baby area is very popular with the new moms and those with nursing babies.

The most recent community council addressed the need for a playground for the children. This will cost about 6,000 euro so we are trying to get that sponsored as well.
We had an offer for washing machines and I will be contacting that organization to see if we can get those started so that the residents don’t have to continue to hand wash all of their clothes.
The UNHCR representatives are here two days a week now and we have been working with them to provide various items we need. They have sent us sleeping mats, solar lights and sleeping bags. We will be putting another request in tomorrow since we will be getting so many new people in soon.
Our residents began the official process of registering today. The Greek Asylum services and UNHCR came and gave them all wristbands so that they can be bussed to another camp tomorrow for the registration. This is a great step in the right direction because they will now be considered legal refugees. Most of our camp have been illegal for months now since they were originally issued papers that were only good for 30 days.
We are looking for volunteers to come help us in the camp. If you are interested, or know someone who is, please give them my contact information.
I am very grateful for all of the support we have been given. It has been very humbling to be a part of this wonderful work, and get to know the stories of the people here. We could not give the help we have without the support of so many great people backing us.

Please feel free to share this email with anyone that you feel would be interested. We are happy to have people following the story of the Oinofyta camp. We also have a Facebook page that you can follow.

Thank you!!!!!
Lisa R. Campbell 
Vice President/Greece Project Manager  
Do Your Part (.org) 

"All the adversity I've had in my life, has strengthened me. You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you." Walt Disney (1901-1966)