A Letter from Nadia Ayoub, serving in Greece
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How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! … Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. (Psalms 84:1,4)
Dear friends and families,
I praise the Lord our God with all my heart every time I remember each of you I visited during my interpretation time this past January–early July. I still do not have enough words to thank you for the love and generosity you have shown me and the ministry to which the Lord calls me. Thank you so much for all your encouragement, prayers and financial support.
I thank the churches that I visited in March and April for your prayers for me as I traveled to visit with more churches and congregations during the end of April, May, June, and part of July. I thank God for showing me many faithful partners who demonstrated their strong commitment to partner with the ministry to the Syrians and other forced immigrants in Greece. I thank you all for inviting me to come and visit with you. I just can’t say all the many ways you encouraged me to continue to trust God and answer the call to serve among refugees.
I thank God that I was able to visit many Presbyterian churches — both big and small —during my time in the States. As I write this letter, my heart giggles with joyful praise to the Lord for all of his people who are dwelling in the house of the Lord.
Though I regret I cannot mention every place I visited, I would like to share a few examples of experiences that touched my heart.
When I visited the Burmese congregation of First Presbyterian Church in Allentown, Pennsylvania, these congregants from Myanmar (Burma) promised to pray for the refugees because they “came as refugees.”
Falling Waters Presbyterian Church, one of 15 PC(USA) churches in the Eastern Panhandle Community of Western Virginia, has partnered with me and my ministry for many years. Each year, their Vacation Bible School takes up a special collection for my ministry. By the end of each VBS week, they always find that they have far exceeded their goal. This has encouraged the whole congregation, and when I was visiting, they created a written covenant committing to support and pray for me in my new appointment in Greece.
During my visit to Swan Lake Presbyterian Church in South Carolina (SLPC) in May, with the help of Session Clerk Susan Holton, we had a one-day women’s retreat. The theme was “Let Your Light Shine.” In that spirit, members invited a few friends from other churches. From the first time I visited SLPC, one member, Edie Taylor, has continued to communicate with me. I often call Edie, and she shares the church’s news with me. Through her daughter Susan, I have become friends with a few church members. I thank God for faithful supporters like Edie, and I thank Edie for her faithfulness in her continued prayers, encouragement and support. I ask you to please join me in prayers for Edie’s health.
The Covington Presbyterian Church in Virginia is a longtime active partner church with a heart for serving God among the Roma people. Nancy and Bill Caperton and many other members of the church visited me in Ukraine and encouraged me throughout my time there. The church has committed to continue to partner with me and God’s mission among the forced immigrants in Greece. I thank the Lord for Nancy and all her support for the Roma ministry. Please join me in prayers for Nancy’s health.
Visiting familiar churches and new churches and learning how the Church is more and more going out of their own walls to create new ministries within their local communities was educational and encouraging. These ministries that serve the needs of people in the community include soup kitchens, food pantries, and serving as sanctuary churches for refugees. In addition, many churches are now involved in disaster relief within the States. But they continue their strong witness internationally and globally, with many ministries committed to elevating the standard of living, evangelizing and promoting reconciliation around the world.
I want to share some news about the Roma ministry in Karpatalja-Ukraine. With the leadership of Pastor Elemer and his family, the Roma children enjoyed a summer full of activities. A team from Holland conducted VBS for them, and many children went to a one-week Christian summer camp in Csonkapapi. Family church services and Bible study continue.
Again, I thank the Lord our God Almighty for all his love for us and for calling us to share his love with others. And I thank you all for answering his call and continuing as or becoming active partners in God’s mission with refugees in Greece through your encouragement, prayers and financial support.
The Lord be with you and encourage you in your faith.
Yours in Christ,
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