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Searching for a Better Home

A Letter from Nadia Ayoub, serving in Greece

July 2020

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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“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20, 21

My dear friends and church family,

I greet you all with the peace of Christ. I give thanks to the Lord, for He is our refuge and has been faithful to us throughout this unprecedented time. My prayers are for all the families affected with the coronavirus and with all peoples experiencing the injustice of racism that divides those whom God has made equally in God’s own image.

Thank you so much for reaching out to me and for your great encouragement, prayers, and continued financial support. By God’s grace and with your partnership, I am able to stay in Greece and see what the Lord is doing among the locals and refugees in Katerini.

Last Sunday evening, my phone beeped. I ran to retrieve a message from Zahia. “We have arrived safely. We are at the refugee reception center. One suitcase did not make it, but I trust it will come later.” I replied, “Thank God, you are there as you had hoped to be.” I told my friend, “Go to sleep now. You need your rest.” Zahia and her family had been traveling for three days. I hardly slept for two nights. I needed to sleep too.

Zahia arrived at the Greek border three years ago. She was fleeing from her abusive husband. A single mother with two children, Zahia is well educated and was a lawyer in Syria. The Greek Evangelical Church chose to sponsor her and her children. With care and love, Zahia felt at home in Greece, soon learned Greek, attended church, accepted Jesus into her life, and joined the church’s evangelistic events. She was able to participate in Arabic Christian Education classes to learn about Christianity in her own language. She became an interpreter with Perichoresis, where I met her for the first time. I would often ask Zahia to help me hang curtains, make bread, or share a meal so that we could spend time together. It looked like Zahia was settling down in Greece. When Zahia received her residence permit, she started preparing her family’s travel documents. Once the quarantine was lifted and the border reopened, she decided to leave Greece to find a better home and greater opportunities for herself and her children. We prayed that God’s will would be done for her. Zahia’s family is only one of the many families stranded in Greece that wants to leave, in search of a better home for themselves and their families.

I thank God that the asylum office was reopened after the quarantine was lifted. It now requires refugees to ask for an appointment through email. Sadly, many refugees do not know how to read and write. They often ask me for help, so I write the email for them on their phones. The office has also removed the requirement that would only give custody of children to two parents. This was a big problem for many single mothers and fathers.

Before visiting the asylum office to obtain a child’s residence permit, I communicate with many people through email. First, I need to request an appointment with the asylum office through email. Then I need to coordinate with the social worker, the lawyer, the child’s parents, and the asylum office staff. This work involves writing messages and waiting for answers. It takes more time and energy than it used to. I appreciate your prayers for strength and patience.

We also help families with food and necessities like milk, diapers, and children’s clothes. One mother told me she knew how to sew, so I encouraged her to make clothes for her daughters. I gave her a new dress and she made two dresses for her daughters.

I thank God that I received my Greek visa, and it is good until August 2021. It took more than a year to prepare all the needed documents. When the elder from the Greek Evangelical Church went with me to meet with my caseworker at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she told him it was her first time to issue a long-term visa, and she had to be careful with all the details. Then she asked how long the church would need my help. The elder replied, “You know we have the refugees here now, and we do not think this will go away any time soon.”

Thank you again for your partnership with me. I pray that the Lord will bless you and encourage you in your ministry locally and internationally.

I pray peace and blessings on all of you.

In Christ, Nadia Ayoub

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