Turkey: Service is love, a volunteer’s perspective
22 March 2013

A class in session with children of asylum seekers and refugees in Ankara, Turkey. (Carmen Perea/JRS)
I am awed by their resilience and strength, even in the face of tremendous trials.
Ankara, 22 March 2013 –  In Ankara, Turkey, the JRS project relies heavily on the commitment of volunteers to help with activities and assistance to urban refugees. 

Annette Stacy is from the USA and volunteers with JRS Turkey. This is her reflection about her interactions with the refugees and asylum seekers. 

Living in turkey is a huge opportunity for me.  It is a big adventure that I never expected at this point of my life, but it wasn't until I began to volunteer at the JRS centre that I felt that there was a particular reason for me to be here.  

It is wonderful for me to have something so meaningful to do with my life.  It is easy to love one's family and close friends, but to have a chance to learn to love people that outwardly are so different in their background is truly a blessing.  

To discover that someone whom I might have regarded with suspicion a few years ago has all of the same emotions, fears and loves as I do, has been transforming for me.

My students are funny, sweet, kind people who find themselves caught up in terrible difficulties.  They are nearly powerless to determine their own destiny – they are victims of politics and power.  It is very humbling to see them trying so hard to improve themselves with language and art training, and trying to help one another as well.

I am awed by their resilience and strength, even in the face of tremendous trials.  I love being with them, and have developed strong friendships with my students.

Jesus said, ‘If you do it unto one of the least of these, you do it unto me.’  

Service is love and I am learning a great deal about love through volunteering with JRS Turkey.