A letter from Nadia Ayoub on home assignment from Ukraine
Dear Friends and Families,
I greet you all with the peace of Christ. I pray that you all are rejoicing in this Lenten season as we prepare for celebrating the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ for our sake to obtain the forgiveness of our sins and have eternal life with God. Thank you so much for your partnership by your prayers, encouragements, and financial support.
It is Joy that winter is ending and there are signs of spring in some places with a few flowers.
It was difficult to leave the Roma children toward the end of January to come to the United States for interpretation assignment, but I thank God, for he is all-wise, and love rewards my faint obedience and even encouraged me more in this time.
By God’s grace during my interpretation time here in U.S.A. I visited with many very faithful Presbyterians on the East Coast. Some churches were new to me, one church had not had a missionary for more than 15 years, and some churches I visited 10 years ago. I drove for many hours to reach some churches, some were big with five services every Sunday morning, but also some were small churches, but nevertheless they organized several smaller meetings, for example, meeting with Sunday School, then preaching in the church, then again sharing during lunch after the church service. Oh, let me tell you about all the wonderful, delicious meals that Presbyterians love to gather around to fellowship and share what our loving God, our Father, is doing in the world, especially among the Roma people in Karpatalja-Ukraine.
People were very attentive to my talks and they prompted questions I had not thought about before. People asked me what is different in my program from other existing programs. “I did not plan to be different,” I said, but as I have trusted God to lead me, I see his plan unfolding step by step. Mainly when I came to meet with the Roma people I could not believe the way one group of people is so segregated from the rest of the community. I have trusted God to show me some ways to encourage both Roma and non-Roma to acknowledge the existence of both groups with their differences and accept each other, to be reconciled and united together. God is faithful: he is showing me signs that this transformation has been coming about during the past three years. Signs of respect between the two groups, signs of acceptance, and more signs of trusting Christ and bringing glory to God.
Another repeated question was, how long do I plan to serve there? “As long as God will allow me to be there,” I said, and that is connected to my Ukrainian visa being extended and the partner church needing me to stay with them longer. But also connected with your partnership with me through prayers and financial support.
People also were very responsive to the call to partnership: children received their fish saving boxes and started to save money to help provide a playground for the whole community, Roma and non-Roma. Grownups wanted to give so many things to support the continuation of the work in the area of Peterfolvo. And all that was wrapped with their fervent prayers for God’s love and hope for real transformation to happen for the people.
This almost three months away tested my heart feeling toward the people in Karpatalja, especially the Roma children. I was in constant communication through Skype with Marta, my helper, and Stefanie, the German volunteer. And they always told me in detail what is going on. My heart was aching about the Ukrainian crisis, but I was comforted by the peace in the region of Karpatalja in Ukraine (it is in the far west, with the Hungarian border).
With my leaders in Presbyterian World Mission and myself trusting God, I will go back to Karpatalja-Ukraine on April 14, before Easter to celebrate the feast of our Lord Resurrection with the Roma children and their families.
In March the church celebrated the Gifts of Women Sunday and the Scripture was Ephesians 2:11-22.
I was reminded over and over again as much as our situation was helpless and hopeless, God’s love was shown through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ coming and dying on the cross so that through his death and resurrection we were reconciled to God and eventually to each other. Through faith in Christ we are reconciled and God can shine through us and make us to be a testimony for others, that they might come and be reconciled too.
1. For all Presbyterians and their faith and love for the Lord Jesus Christ as they show it by loving each other locally and globally.
2. Thank God for young children here in U.S.A. who are aware of God’s great gifts for them and the way they share that with other children who are less privileged in the world.
3. Thank God for a refreshing time for me here with family members and God’s big family, the church.
Requests for prayers
1. Please continue to pray for the situation in Ukraine and God’s peace to rule and spare people from destruction.
2. Pray for God to strengthen and encourage more people to share the exceeding great gifts of God for them with others who are in need.
3. Pray for my last weeks in my U.S. visit and safe travel and arrival to Karpatalja-Ukraine.
Thank you so much for your friendship and partnership in God’s work. But if you are for the first time reading about the Roma people in The Peterfolvo-Karpatalja-Ukraine, would you consider becoming a partner and join the mission of the church? I pray a Blessed Easter for you all.
In the Risen Lord,
The 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 322
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