A Brief Encounter
A Snap Shot
Keep on Smiling
When Hope Fades

Heda was standing near the Oasis with her two children as Tom arrived one day. There were dark circles under her dull eyes. She looked like a woman who had cried all her tears and had no energy left to cry anymore.  After exchanging greetings, she said in a flat voice, “Thomas, we just came to say good-bye. Tomorrow we are returning to Chechnya. There is nothing for us here.”

The family was in a difficult situation. They left Chechnya full of hopes and dreams for a better life. Although the war in Chechnya is over, the country is occupied by the Russian army and the threat from competing Islamic militias makes life there very difficult. Men are still abducted from their homes in the middle of the night and found dead several days later. All it takes is a whisper of suspicion for a man’s fate to be sealed.

For Heda’s husband, the present choice was between the cold hard reality of very little hope of asylum in Austria and the stress of life in occupied Chechnya. Life is never easy on the refugee highway. Hope fades as stark reality presents itself.

Heda’s husband arrived and greeted Tom and repeated the news of their upcoming departure. They had to go as there were bags to pack. Heda gave a tired wave and turned in the direction of the camp, walking toward a very uncertain future, their two precious children tagging along behind them. Our prayer for them, as for so many others in similar situations, is that they will remember what they’ve heard at the Oasis about God and the life and hope He offers in Jesus.