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I’m Kearstin, a Global Mission Intern currently serving with  Perichoresis NGO, a refugee response organization related to the Evangelical Church of Greece.

The mission of Perichoresis NGO is the alleviation of human hardship regardless of ethnicity, race and creed.  For all of us who share the vision of Perichoresis and work towards its realization, we EMBRACE our destitute fellow humans and encompass all people, both native and foreign, in the SPIRIT of INCLUSION.

Perichoresis, funded by private donors and in cooperation with strategic partners, has undertaken programs to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to refugees since it’s founding in 2016. They have implemented a wide range of projects, including food distribution, protection, logistics, housing, health care, legal aid, and education projects.

Perichoresis has two different programs: an accommodation program funded by the UNHCR and a long-term integration program funded by RefuAid. I currently serve as the Administrative Officer for the Perichoresis/Refuaid program. I spend about half of my time in our office, writing reports, helping to keep our family information data up to date, assisting visiting groups who come to see the programs, etc. The other half of my time is spent out and about in the city of Katerini with our families – doing house visits, accompanying beneficiaries to doctors appointments, helping to register children in local schools, and more. My days are a wonderful blend of structure and chaos; each day is different and I never know what exactly to expect.

I knew that I wanted to be a GMI from my sophomore year of university, but before applying for the program I took a year to participate in the United Church of Christ’s Young Adult Service Communities program in order to better discern my call. After becoming a GMI, I spent two years in Budapest, Hungary with the Reformed Church in Hungary and it was here that I continue to hone in on my call. My time was split between working at the church’s national offices, serving Roma youth, and also working with refugees. Before long it became quite clear that human migration was a topic that caught my heart, and holistic refugee integration was where I was being pulled. During my two years in Budapest, I spent vacations volunteering with Perichoresis NGO after meeting a member of the Board of Directors at a church conference in Hungary. I visited twice as a volunteer (during my holidays) before realizing that this was where I was being called to next, and then visited again for a longer job-training once it was decided that I would serve with the Evangelical Church in Greece following my term in Hungary.

Looking back now, I’ve realized that human migration and all of its complexities have been weighing heavily on my heart since my sophomore year of university. I took a service learning class about life on the boarder of Texas and Mexico and, after a semester of complex background studies, I then volunteered with a group at a children’s summer camp in McAllen, TX. That summer trip before my junior year at Heidelberg University truly opened my eyes to the intricate realities that people on the move face in their daily lives, and it stayed with me. Hindsight is 20/20, and given where I am now, I see that class and that trip as where my whole journey to holistic refugee integration work began.