A letter from Nadia Ayoub serving in Ukraine
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).
Dear Friends and families,
With a heart full of joy I thank God for his grace and mercy, which enfolds us here in Ukraine and you all in different parts of the world. I also from all my heart thank you so much for your prayers, encouragements by phones and messages and letters, and your generous financial support.
Early in the morning of May 5 my phone rang for short time, and when I picked it up I saw it was Regina, so I called her back. She answered me with a trembling voice and said that day she would be meeting with the pastor and the elders of the church to examine her for her confirmation class. She was very afraid.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrew 12:1-2).
The past month she was studying and memorizing a lot of new information and Bible passages, and I was helping her sometimes. I thought she was doing well and learned a lot of the required material. Last time I met with her we scanned through the book of Job. And I told her some day she would be glad that she has learned all this information—she will be able to use it through all her life. I told her also she does not need to be afraid, but to trust that God the Holy Spirit would remind her of the answers.
But that morning she was afraid and asked me to pray for her. I told her I would do so all day, because her meeting was at 6:00 pm. So I prayed for her and waited till evening for her to call to tell me what happened. When she did not call I was worried that she did not make it.
You see, here in Ukraine they do exams in this way: they write different questions on tickets, sometimes three or more questions on a ticket, and when the students come they each pick up one ticket, and the student has to answer the questions on it.
Thank God, the next morning she called me with voice full of joy and pride that she did answer all of her five questions. And with joy she said that she remembered all the Bible verses even better than the rest of her classmates. Regina is the only Roma—the rest are Hungarians.
May 8 was confirmation Sunday when many young believers present themselves for examination before the church congregations. I rejoice because Regina, the young, courageous Roma, is one of them.
Now Regina is preparing for her exams to obtain her diploma for the 9th grade this June 2016—with confidence. As she passed the confirmation class, she trusts by God’s grace she will do well also in her school.
School will be over soon—for summer vacation, three months. For the Roma children 10 years and older, it is a working season—planting, caring for the plants, picking out the weeds, then picking fruits like strawberries, or digging the potatoes, picking the walnuts and cleaning them to sell in the market. Some of the older children, especially girls, have the responsibility of watching over their siblings, sometimes 7-10 younger siblings, while parents are working.
So in the coming months my helpers and I will be preparing for summer time for the children. We hope to keep them engaged in some good, relaxing activities, VBS, and Christian summer camp. Also I hope to have some picnics for all the families.
The summer of 2013 the parents of the Roma children did not allow the children to go to Summer Christian Camp; we were able to take only 6 children to the camp in Csonkapapi, which is led by the Livia and Attila Tomas family. This campsite organizes the Christian camp for Roma children in Carpathian – Ukraine. Each group comes for one week (five days). The camp has a capacity for about 50 children, with 10-15 leaders. Last year 18 children were allowed to go to the camp. Five days of hearing more about God’s love, learning songs, crafts, playing, having five good meals, showers with clean running water, a chance to talk and make friends, and sleeping in a clean bed. These are memories that stay in the life of the children, and we pray it will be a transforming power in their lives.
This year, 2016, we have a long list. Many families trust us and allow their children to go to the camp. But we kept attendance and a good behavior record so we can reduce the number, because this year the camp leader estimates that each child costs $30.
It is a race for us all the time to share God’s love and the message that Jesus endured the cross on our behalf to save us. So as we fix our eyes on Jesus, we run to the finish, and we will not grow weary and lose heart.
Thank you so much for your partnership with your prayers, encouragements and support. With your help I have been able to witness to God’s grace and mercy among the Roma and the non-Roma in Karpatalja-Ukraine. But if this is the first time you have heard about this ministry among the Roma people in Ukraine, I encourage you to become an active partner by your prayers and financial support.
Thank you so much and God encourage you more in your walk with Christ.
Serving Christ with you,
You 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.