Support the church’s response to Hurricane Ida — Give now

Fun, Growth in Christ, and Blessings

A letter from Nadia Ayoub, serving in Ukraine

September 2017

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).

 


Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with all of you.

Dear friends and families,

I greet you all with the peace of Christ. I give thanks to the Lord God our Father, redeemer and comforter, for his great love for all and especially those who choose to accept his gracious love. I thank God greatly for each of you and for your prayers, encouragements and financial support. Because of you, God has wrought many good things among the Roma people in Karpatalja in Ukraine.

Every summer, my sisters, brothers and I looked forward to that week when we would go to church every afternoon for three to four hours. We looked forward to learning Bible stories, doing crafts and earning little prizes for learning Bible verses or new songs. And, of course, we looked forward to playing with our friends. My seven siblings and I were only allowed to go to VBS if we finished our chores. I worked very quickly to make sure I finished my share so I would not miss VBS time! When I was little, I did not know how good VBS was for me, but I continued to go every year because I enjoyed it.

When I was about 10 years old, I greatly admired my VBS teacher, who was an agricultural engineer. I wished in my heart to become like her. The Lord listened to me, and kept his promise. I became an agricultural engineer and a Sunday school teacher in my church in Cairo, in Kazakhstan, in Tajikistan and here in Ukraine.

Not long ago, my brother, who works in the Egyptian Bible Society, called me and said, “I have a story for you.” In his office, there is a very kind and hardworking lady. One day, she sat near him at lunch, and he asked her about how she came to know the Lord.

She said, “it was my Sunday school teacher in the church near our home who taught us many things that helped me to love the Lord and like to serve him.” And that was the same church we went to. So my brother asked the lady the teacher’s name. She replied, “it was Nadia Kamel Ayoub.”

Every time I meet the precious children I work with, I pray the Lord God will touch these children’s hearts and raise mighty leaders out of them among their own families, communities and more.

I thank the Lord that this summer we were busy with many lifegiving children’s programs. Every Wednesday morning in June, July and August, Roma children came to the Roma Mission Center for VBS. They played for a short time outside with toys, bikes, jump ropes or balls. Then we gathered for a time of singing, prayers and a Bible lesson. The children learned the story of the fall of Adam and Eve. Through reciting Ephesians 2:4-5, the children learned that “God, who is rich in mercy, out of his great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.” They had craft time, ate lunch and played a little more outside before going home. Each day was full of fun, growth in Christ and blessings.

During the week of July 17-21, 18 children attended the Csunkapapi Christian Camp for Roma children. It was a five-day sleep-away camp. For some children, the first day was not easy, but they quickly adjusted and had good fun. They had three meals and two snacks a day, and they were able to bathe and wash their clothes, which is not easy at home. Each had his or her own bed to sleep in. In addition to eating and sleeping well, the children enjoyed abundant time for recreation. They played many games in teams, with the winning team receiving prizes. As in the VBS described above, they made crafts, sang Christian songs and learned many Bible stories. Through the story of Naaman (2 Kings 5), the children came to understand that though sin affects our lives in terrible ways, if we come to God with prayers, read the Bible and have faith, the blood of Jesus Christ cleans us and make us new. But most important, they learned how to pray confidently, to talk with God. I have great hope that their experiences will impact them as powerfully as VBS impacted me.

Because many children were not able to participate in either of the programs above, we held day camps once a week within the Roma settlements in which the children live. The children were amazed by the story of Jonah! And they were encouraged to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14 a) by telling the stories to their families.

The Roma mission is undergoing a time of transition: local leaders from the Reformed Church in Karpatalja are assuming responsibility for leading the Roma mission. Because for more than 17 years the church has left work in the Roma mission primarily to foreign volunteers and workers, this is not easy. Many of the church’s former workers left their positions and moved overseas to seek a better life, so new workers have joined the church’s mission work. I trust God will lead and encourage the new workers and leaders in keeping up with the needed ministry for the Roma people.

Please keep the Roma in your prayers. Winter was very cold; as a result, some areas lost their fruit crops. To make matters worse, this summer we have had about three hot, dry weeks and some walnut and sunflower crops were damaged. Sadly, decreased yield means fewer work opportunities for the Roma people.

I again thank you all, individuals and congregations, for your partnership with PC(USA) World Mission; the Reformed Church in Karpatalja, Ukraine; and with me. Thank you for your prayers, encouragement and financial support that make it possible for me to be in Ukraine witnessing to the Lord’s love among the Roma people in the Peterfolvo area.

I sometimes meditate on the Bible verse with which I began this letter: “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with all of you.” I thank God because the Lord Jesus freely gives us the peace that he has purchased for us on the cross of Calvary. Peace is with God; peace is with ourselves; and peace is with others who are sometimes our friends, sometimes are different from us, and sometimes do not like us at all. But the Lord is with all of us to make us his peacemakers in this world till the end of the days.

Serving the Lord of peace with you,

Nadia Ayoub

Please read this important message from Jose Luis Casal, Director, Presbyterian World Mission

Dear Friend of Presbyterian Mission,

What a joy to send this letter! As Presbyterian World Mission’s new director, I thank God for your faithful support of our mission co-workers. The enclosed newsletter celebrates the work you made possible by your prayers, engagement, and generous financial gifts. We can’t thank you enough.

After I began in April, I met with mission co-workers and global partners and was blessed to see firsthand the mighty ways God is working through them! Our global partners are asking us to help them move forward with life-changing ministries. Because of your support, we can say “yes” to these creative and exciting initiatives.

I write to invite you to make an even deeper commitment to this work. First, would you make a year-end gift for the sending and support of our mission co-workers? We need your gifts to end the year strong. With your help, we filled two new mission co-worker positions and plan to recruit for others. The needs in the world are great, and World Mission is poised to answer the call to serve.

Second, would you ask your session to add our mission co-workers to your congregation’s mission budget for 2018 and beyond? Our mission co-workers serve three-year or four-year terms. Your multi-year commitment will encourage them greatly.

Our mission co-workers are funded entirely from the special gifts of individuals and congregations like yours. Now more than ever, we need your financial support.

In faith, our mission co-workers accepted a call to mission service. In faith, World Mission sent them to work with our global partners. In faith, will you also commit to support this work with your prayers and financial gifts?

With gratitude,
Jose Luis Casal
Director

P.S. Your gift will help meet critical needs of our global partners. Thank you!


Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

  • Subscribe to the PC(USA) News

  • Interested in receiving either of the PC(USA) newsletters in your inbox?