A letter from Nadia Ayoub serving in Ukraine
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My dear friends and families,
I worship the Lord for he is worthy of all praises, and I give thanks to God for he is faithful and has kept each one of you a faithful and trustworthy steward, proclaiming his love not only to your neighbors but to many as far as to the Roma people in Zakarpattia–Ukraine. Thank you so much for your unceasing prayers and support. I pray and trust that you and your family have a blessed Easter.
Over and over again I see God answering our prayers. In February I completed four years in Ukraine, 2011-2015. I was filled with joy as I reflected on what God has been doing among the Roma people and the local people in the Peterfolvo area. It was not easy, but I can see his everlasting arms carrying us through. And now we rejoice as we look for his benefits as he grants us answers for our prayers for forgiveness, healings, satisfying, renewing, works of vindication and justice for the oppressed people and many more.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits (Psalm 103:1, 2).
Within the last three months three new people came to join the ministry.
Tania is more Ukrainian than Hungarian; she speaks Ukrainian, Russian and Hungarian. She finished a first-level pharmacist degree and also Bible school to
become Bible teacher. Last summer I saw her in the street market selling seasonable items, flowers, fruits, and Christmas decorations. I was in prayer for God to call her to his ministry.
Around Christmastime many Roma children came to the Bible club, and it was difficult for me and Wiebke, the German volunteer, to manage the group. One Sunday I approached Tania and asked if she could help us, and to my surprise she agreed. The next morning she had prepared a Bible lesson and went with me to teach the children. Since then she has not stopped coming and continues to serve the Roma children with joy and love.
Through the four years many local people came to help me. I rejoice and can say with Jesus, It is a harvest time, therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest (Matthew 9:38-39).
Julia is more Hungarian than Ukrainian. She speaks good Hungarian and knows Russian and Ukrainian. She is a friend of my neighbor Magda. When I first came to Beregszasz in 2011, Magda and Julia went with me once to show me where the nearest church is. After that many times I invited them to come with me, but they did not want to. Around Christmas 2014 I was visiting Magda and Julia was there too. She asked about my work, and I said I do not have enough help. To my surprise she said, “I can help you, now I have free time,” because she just had lost her job.
I asked if she would come, and we visited a little to learn about her ability to work with children and her Bible knowledge. I came to know that she had been married, but her husband died, and she had no children and was upset with God about that. I gave her some books to read and asked her to show how she would tell the children a story about the creation, and then we met the next day to practice.
Julia told the story in a very few words, and when I asked her to give more details about what God did every day, with a surprised voice she said, “You do not want me to say that God said, ‘Let there be light and it was light,’ do you!” I was astonished because I know she attends church sometimes and is following the Christian faith with her parents and family. Little by little we shared more, and by God’s grace I answered her questions. She told her Christian believer mother and sister, and the elderly blind mother with joy gave her a large-print Bible. Since then we meet once a week or more to study the Bible, and she comes to help with the Roma children’s Bible club because her Hungarian is good and she can translate and read the stories for the children. She is learning herself and helping in teaching the children.
Elmer is an answer to a longtime prayer request for God to send a person to come and help with the parents and adults. Elmer told me seven years ago when he accepted the Lord he felt a desire to serve God but, he said, please not with the Roma. But since then he has been engaged with Roma ministry. Elmer came to join the work in Peterfolvo area last week. In one day we visited 32 Roma families. I see he is very familiar with the people. The Roma talked and talked and he listened with a cheerful face. He answered their inquiries with a pleasure that gave the families peace and joy.
More than 20 people I know by name came to help with teaching and countless numbers gave help in one way or other. One thing was common among all these helpers. It was their first time to be in touch with the Roma people. It was their first time to go and see where the Roma people live outside their villages. At first these helpers came because they needed a job, but after a little time many were filled with compassion for the children and the adults. They helped as long as they could, and even after they left they continue to remember and rejoice when a Roma child or adult stops them in the street to welcome and greet them.
I thank God for sending laborers for the plentiful harvest. And I thank you for your prayers and support. I pray that God will encourage you more as we are God’s laborers and sent by him to share his love with the Roma people. Again I pray for a blessed time celebrating the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus the Christ.
Serving Christ with you all,
The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 332
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