“Each one of you is going to get a paper plate on which I want you to express yourselves,” Nicolas explained to the 80 or so Syrian refugee kids.

It started out like every other Baptist Children and Youth Ministry (BCYM) camp, with worship, stories and games. Suspecting, however, that amidst the chaos of the grown-up world, these children were often left unheard, BCYM wanted to provide a platform where they could express their thoughts.

Ten-year-old hyperactive Salah settled to create his masterpiece. Like every child his age, he drew a house, a garden, and of course the obligatory dog. The similarities ended there, because normally kids don’t scribble ISIS at the top nor do they draw a tent adjacent to this picture-perfect house. When asked about his drawing, he pointed to the house that ISIS blew up along with his dog “Rex”, and then to the new tent, that his father built, which he now referred to as home. He finished by writing “GOD” in block letters at the top. Somehow, BCYM had managed to impart to this little kid, who could barely sit through a 20-minute story, hope through the knowledge that God was still in control.

Plate after plate showed pictures expressing the same tangible sorrow. Children robbed of their childhoods. These kids are in desperate need for someone to extend hope, a listening ear, and unconditional love and that is what BCYM is here for!

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