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Celebrate Freedom and Reconciliation

A Letter from Nadia Ayoub, serving in Greece

Spring 2021

Write to Nadia Ayoub

Individuals: Give online to E200473 for Nadia Ayoub’s sending and support

Congregations: Give to D506029 for Nadia Ayoub’s sending and support

Churches are asked to send donations through your congregation’s normal receiving site (this is usually your presbytery).

 


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“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free.” Psalm 118:1,5 NIV

Dear friends and family,

I greet you in the name of our risen Lord and Savior. I pray you have had a joyful celebration of the Lord Jesus Christ’s resurrection and triumph over death. Christ purchased our freedom. As Jesus said in John 8:36, “So if the Son set you free, you will be free indeed.” We became a new creation. God has reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the message of reconciliation so that we could invite others to be reconciled to God.

Thank you so much for your faithful partnership that allows me to spread the message of reconciliation to many others locally and globally. Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and financial support that enable me to witness how God frees the oppressed and gives them the chance to know true freedom in Jesus, the Christ.

I give thanks to the Lord because he is good, and his love endures forever; he has heard the cry of the people and set them free.

On March 25, Greece celebrated 200 years of freedom and independence from 400 years of Turkish rule. Preparations for the Greek Independence Day celebration begin months in advance, and the excitement builds throughout the beginning of the year. When the day itself comes it is celebrated with parades, speeches and military exercises. School children march in parades, waving the Greek flag, and wearing traditional costumes.

As I watched the parade with friends, Alexandra remarked, “when I look at this glorious ceremony, I am thinking of the celebration in heaven. How glorious that day will be!”

I asked her to give me a bit of history about this event and she told me that Greek Independence Day commemorates the start of the War of Greek Independence in 1821. The date of March 25 coincides with the Greek Orthodox Church’s celebration of the Annunciation to Mary.

Greece had been incorporated into of Ottoman Empire in 1453. Instead of being free, they were ruled by the Turks. On March 25, 1821 Bishop Germanos of Patras raised the flag of revolution over the Monastery of Agia Lavra in the Peloponnese. Many in Europe sympathized with the Greek cause and joined Greece in its bid for independence. The revolution ended in 1829 when the Treaty of Edirne established an independent Greece.

Perichoresis experiences a similar atmosphere of freedom because it can now serve the people of Katerini and the refugees independently from the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR). Previously, Perichoresis was limited in its ministry to supervising refugee housing. In October 2020, the UNHCR transferred the housing project from Perichoresis to the town municipality and Perichoresis was free to serve the refugee community more fully in line with Matthew 25’s vision.

In Katerini, a town of 70.000 residents, in Northern Greece, Perichoresis seeks to serve the approximately 600 refugees (asylum seekers and asylum status holders), a Roma community of 120 families, and as many as 20 homeless people. These people are in need. They suffer from unemployment, social difficulties, financial crises, vulnerabilities, COVID-19 infections, and other hardships.

Perichoresis offers accommodation and integration programs; educational programs that include Greek and English lessons, computer skills, and life-coaching; recreational programs including pastry making and sewing programs; a Community Food Bank that provides food, cleaning supplies, hygiene kits, washing services, and meals; and a Social Cooperative Enterprise “Peri Ergon” that helps vulnerable social groups access the solidarity economy by training them to cut and sew fabric to create unique products (see https://periergon.gr/).

We try daily to put Mathew 25:34-36’s directives into practice. This month, Perichoresis organized three distribution programs to deliver food, baby formula, diapers, and cleaning supplies to more than 30 refugee families. These families are living on the edge. They do not receive any financial assistance, do not have opportunities to earn money, have been asked to evacuate their homes, and are waiting to process their documents to leave Greece. Thank God for the ministry of Perichoresis, and please pray for God to send the help needed for these families.

In May, I need to submit my application for an extension of my Greek residency visa; with the pandemic and the lockdown, the government offices are not working at full capacity, and it takes more time to process the visa. Please pray for God’s mercy and guidance for this situation.

In Greece, we celebrated Christ’s resurrection on May 2. The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed!

Serving the risen Christ with you,

Nadia Ayoub


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