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Enjoy the Ride

A Letter from Nadia Ayoub, serving in Greece

September 2019

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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“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5,6

Dear Friends, families and the churches,

I greet you all in the name of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I certainly give thanks to God, for he is all-wise and all-loving, and will give wisdom and guidance to all who acknowledge him. I pray and trust that you have all kept safe and well and have enjoyed the summer.

Thank you so much for continuing to stay interested in what the Lord is doing among the refugees in Greece. Thank you so much for your prayers, encouragement, and financial support that help me to serve here as a voice for the refugees when they need interpretation, and also to advocate when needed.

Last week, the women met again for Peace Pastry time, a project I described in my last letter, where refugee women and Greek women get together Thursdays to bake sweets and to fellowship with one another. As time passes, group leaders are noting that the women have begun to relax and enjoy each other. One time as we sat in fellowship, Soaad said, “It is very good for us refugee women to come here once a week to laugh and talk with each other and forget the sadness that is in our hearts. We stop thinking of all we have lost and our thoughts about the uncertain future, and what we need to do—stay in Greece? Leave? Which way should we take?” We listened to Soaad as a way to help to bring comfort to the hurting, following Matthew 25.

A Syrian woman named Ratibah said, “I would like my children to learn how to live in peace. You see, back home there is lots of fighting: among family, between neighbors, across the nation. When we came here, we found peace. I hope my children will know how to live in peace.”

I thank God for this simple project that helps the women relax and enjoy themselves for a couple of hours trusting God will help them to better enjoy the ride, with the Lord leading and guiding.

Another opportunity for refugee and Greek families to come together is through simple meetings for them, together with visitors from other countries. Adigonos and his wife Maral and their two sons opened their home and invited refugees and their friends to come and enjoy each other’s company and share about God. This past August, Adigonos and his family hosted eight people from Washington, D.C. who stayed for five days. In the mornings they visited the sea and in the afternoons they fellowshipped around the table; in the evening there was time for handicrafts, games, a meal, and then time to talk about God. My role in these meetings, especially in the evenings, was to interpret. These five days took place during Aid el Korban, the Islamic holiday honoring Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac at God’s command. A feast is customarily shared during these holy days. One new refugee family, a mother with four children, remarked that she did not know what to do to celebrate the feast, and her friend who had been at Adigonos’ gatherings had invited her to come too. She was very happy to go and said that she and her children had the most wonderful celebration. I thank God for gatherings like these, where refugees can hear about God’s love, and taste the love of God too, as they are welcomed to Adigonos’ home.

Some refugees here try to trust in God and enjoy the ride, but many others are confused as to whether to stay in Greece or move on. Assistance and housing programs are coming to an end for many families. There are not many jobs for refugees in Greece, and yet many families cannot leave Greece to go to other European countries because they don’t have passports yet. Please pray for God’s grace and mercy to help those who are seeking direction for their future.

My residency application (which I had been having trouble with in my last letter) has been completed, and now I need to wait two months while the accuracy of my information is investigated. If all is found to be correct, the application will be sent from Katerini to Athens, where they will issue a temporary residence card for me and mail it to me here.

It is not clear when the Greek language school will open again, but thank God I have found a teacher to teach me Greek. I pray that I will be able to continue to help hurting people, both refugees and Greeks.

I thank God deeply for all of you within PC(USA), individuals and congregations, who follow our Lord and practice Matthew 25: “I the Lord was a stranger, and you welcomed me.” I thank you, because it is your support that allows me to be in Greece, and to see what God is doing among the Greeks and the refugees. I pray the Lord will encourage and bless you in the ways you are serving God.

In Christ,

Nadia Ayoub

Please read this important message from Sara Lisherness, interim director of Presbyterian World Mission

Dear friend of Presbyterian Mission,

Greetings in Christ! As the interim director of Presbyterian World Mission, I am grateful to have the opportunity to thank you for your continued support of PC(USA) mission co-workers.

The enclosed newsletter bears witness to some of the many ways in which God is at work in the world through long-standing relationships between global partners and the PC(USA). These partnerships are nurtured and strengthened by the presence of mission co-workers in over 40 countries; you are an important part of this partnership too, as you learn about and share how our church is involved in global ministry; as you pray for our partners and mission co-workers; and as you take action to work with others for God’s justice, peace and healing.

I write to invite you to continue joining us in partnership in three ways. First, your prayers are always needed. Please pray that God will continue guiding the shared work of the PC(USA) and global partners as we engage together in service around the world. Pray, too, for mission co-workers, that they may feel encouraged in the work they are doing under the leadership of global partners.

Second, please consider making a year-end gift for the sending and support of at least one mission co-worker. There is a remittance form at the end of this letter and an enclosed envelope so that you can send in a special year-end gift.

Finally, I encourage you to ask your session to include one or more mission co-workers in your congregation’s mission budget for 2020 and beyond. PC(USA) mission co-workers’ sending and support costs are funded by the designated gifts of individuals and congregations like yours; your gifts allow Presbyterian World Mission to fulfill global partners’ requests for mission personnel.

Faithfully in Christ,

Sara Pottschmidt Lisherness
Director, Compassion, Peace and Justice Ministry
Interim Director, Presbyterian World Mission

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