A letter from Nadia Ayoub serving in Ukraine
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Dear Friends and Families,
With a heart full of thanksgiving I thank God for his faithfulness through the year 2015. And I thank each one of you for continuing to be faithful partners with your prayers, encouragements, and support.
Thank God for his grace and favor in his sight and in the people’s sight. Summer went by and two-thirds of autumn. Thank God for plentiful harvest; some crops were great and others were less. The beautiful colored leaves covering the ground left the trees without beauty. The strawberry farmers put the small plants in the fields, cover them, and trust God for the next spring, when they blossom and give plenty of sweet strawberries. The working season for the Roma people is coming to an end, when they were picking fruits and vegetables and digging potatoes and beets. They picked corn and walnuts, and they cleaned them and sold them to a middleman who took them to the market. Although the income for the Roma was very little, they were happy to have that chance to work. During the working time the children miss many school days because they have to help their families.
“O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.… This is the Lord, we trusted in Him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation” (Isaiah 25:1, 9c).
Thank God, for he continues to show his favor among the Roma community in Peterfolvo area. The Lord has sent a good local pastor, Elemer Barta, who loves the Roma people and the children, and he is a great help to me.
The Roma Mission House has begun to be used efficiently, from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm for the preschool program, and then the after-school program for the 1st and 2nd grades from 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm. On Fridays I have the Bible club for the older children.
This Friday we waited for the children to come for the Bible club at 2:00 pm; after we had lost hope 14 children came one hour late, at 3:00, but we did not want to keep them late in the evening, so we finished at 4:30. But when we asked them to go home they refused, wanting to stay more—but we said, next time come early at 2:00 so you can have enough time. We usually sing and pray and have a Bible story and some handcraft, and do some games.
On Sundays we have a service in houses in the three different settlements. We pray we will soon be able to ask the families to come to the Mission House for the Sunday service.
I continue to visit with Regina to help her with her 9th grade work, and also I train her how to read and understand the Bible stories so she can share them with others. Yesterday Tania, my helper, and I visited Regina, and we sang some songs she knows. She was singing with good voice, and Tania commented how beautiful Regina’s voice was. She was happy to hear that because many times she had said that she cannot sing. Also she says that she cannot pray, and yesterday I told her to thank God as we sing in one of the songs—that in the morning and in the daytime as well as in the evening, songs of thanks and blessings are lifted to God because Jesus Christ left glory in heaven to come to us as the lamb, because he so loved us he gave himself for our sake. For the mercy of God he does not look to our sins. Regina opened the song again and prayed many wonderful words.
I also went back to visit one family in Ticebokeny. They have nine children and the kids are afraid to come to the Roma Mission Center. The mother asked if we could come and work with their children at home, so we did—and we had good time with their nine children and three more from the neighbors.
I really thank God for all what is happening with the Roma people in the Peterfolvo area. They were quite neglected, but now we visit with them more and they hear more about God’s love for them. There are some signs of change in the people’s behavior, even little changes in a spiritual way. And this is only happening because of your partnership and support for me and God’s work among the Roma.
On October 25 we had an election for the district mayors and the parliament members. My helper said nothing will change, but the election was bad and they will repeat it again. I pray it will be peaceful and God will have the control over it all.
October and November are difficult months because they pick up the young men for the army—so all the young men leave the country and stay away until the drafting time is over.
During November and December I pray I will be able to make food distribution packages for 100 families and a Christmas celebration that will include a meal and gifts for the children to draw their attention to the gift of gifts that God has given us in Jesus Christ, the child of Bethlehem.
Again I thank you so very much for writing and for your prayers, encouragements and support. Because of you I am able to be here and participate in what God is doing among the Roma people. Thank you, and I pray God encourages and blesses you in your ministry. Have a great time celebrating God’s blessing and joy during Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year.
Joyfully serving Christ with you,
The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 332
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