By Eddie Aldape
From a professional football (soccer) player to a refugee in a strange land, an estimated 3.5 percent of the world’s population, or 272 million people, are on the move around the world.
Some of the people we minister to in Spain are on the move because of war or because their lives are being threatened and they are seeking a safe place for their families. Others are seeking a better life or better opportunities.
Sometimes it is difficult for us to understand what would make someone put their life at risk by moving to another country; but we have not been in their desperate situation.
Mohamed had it all. He was a professional soccer player in his country and was looking at signing a contract with a European team. Just as everything was falling into place, he injured his knee and everything went out the door. And as the promising career vanished so did all the accompanying extras. Some athletes earn most of their money from advertising contracts. They also receive top-of-the-line products to sample as they represent those products. However, once an injury ends a career, every source of income also comes to an end.
This is exactly the situation Mohammed was facing in his country of origin. With very few options to earn a living wage for his family, he and his wife decided that the only option was to move to Europe. They would have preferred France because their country of origin was French-speaking. But they ended up in Spain where they had to learn Spanish.
Working as a temporary, undocumented migrant worker in Spain, he is able to earn more money in three months than he could earn in a year back home. Imagine working alongside a would-have-been professional athlete!
Several of the internationals with whom we work have degrees in their countries but find themselves doing manual labor in Spain. While there is nothing wrong with manual labor, it does not seem fair for them to study hard to obtain their education and not be able to utilize that vocation. Then again, some are earning more doing manual labor than they were earning in their vocations back in the country of origin.
Eddie Aldape and his wife, Macarena, are Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel ministering to immigrants and students in Albacete, Spain. After serving 13 years in India among the Banjara, the Aldapes arrived in Spain in December 2015 where they are launching Centro de Esperanza (The Hope Center) to assist immigrants through the registration processes language acquisition, culture simulation and directing them to local organizations that can meet their immediate needs.The CBF Offering for Global Missions makes possible the long-term presence of CBF field personnel like the Aldapes. 100% of gifts to the Offering support CBF field personnel serving in the United Sates and around the world. Give online today at www.cbf.net/OGM.