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Sing to the Lord All Nations

A Letter from Nadia Ayoub, serving in Greece

September 2020

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Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. — Psalm 96:1-4

Dear friends and families,

I greet you all in the name of our God, the Father, the Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Worthy is the Lord to be praised and worshiped in all our situations because he has saved us and continues to do marvelous deeds among all peoples. And I pray the Lord will give us the unified song that together we will proclaim his majesty and justice, his glory and love for all peoples.

I praise the Lord because of you, my faithful mission partners. I thank you so much for your prayers, encouragement, and financial support that make it possible for me to be here where the need is so great. Because of you, I am able to proclaim God’s love to the refugees and forced immigrants in Greece. Although some may despise and reject them, you have enabled me to serve as an interpreter and witness to Christ’s love.

With a sad voice, Sana said, “Why (does) the nurse always shout at us? (It is) because we are refugees!” Sana and I were at the doctor’s office for her prenatal appointment. I accompanied her as a translator. We arrived on time, checked in, and registered. We then waited until the nurse called us forward. Without looking at her computer, she asked us to go and register. When we told her we had registered, she insisted we had not until her helper pointed to Sana’s name on the screen. Then she asked us to wait again.

In the past, refugees have had to wait all day to be seen by the doctor. The hospital is 25km away from Katerini, where Sana and I live. It is a long trip by bus.

But something different happened on this day. A new doctor came out and asked us to come into the examination room. She was very kind, listened to Sana, examined her, and gave her the print-out of the first ultrasound picture of her baby. She then asked us to return to the waiting room to get instructions, blood tests, and vitamin prescriptions from the nurse. Sana and I praised God for the good treatment.

But this did not last for long. When we came out of the examination room, the nurse shouted and waved her hands at us. I was calm and waited for an explanation. But Sana was very distressed and said that she believed that the nurse treated her badly because she was a refugee. I calmed Sana, took her to the waiting room, and promised her that I would report the nurse if she did not apologize.

Half an hour later, the nurse called to come to her desk. She asked Sana for her information, so I translated for her. The nurse was surprised and exclaimed, “Oh, you understand Greek” I said, “Yes, but I do not know why you were shouting at us.” The nurse told us it was because we went in to see the doctor without her permission. I replied that the doctor had invited us to come in. So the nurse said, “Then my problem is not with you but with the doctor.”

I told Sana that the nurse had almost apologized, but Sana was still hurt and told me she would not return to the hospital for her monthly check-up until two weeks before her delivery date. We laughed and went home.

Perichoresis found a job for Mahdi. I called him to tell him that he could start work the next day. His wife Salwa answered the phone and told me Mahdi was very sick with a fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and sweating. She was very afraid he had the coronavirus. I asked if she had taken his temperature. She had not because she did not know how to read the thermometer. I told her I would bring her a digital thermometer Mahdi was quarantining himself in his room when I arrived. They were very sad so I comforted them and told them that Mahdi was young and would be able to recover. They told me that back in their homeland, people believe that getting the coronavirus is a punishment from God. They also worry that if they go to the hospital, they will not be treated and will be left to die. Thankfully, Perichoresis was able to provide transportation for Mahdi to go to the hospital to get tested for the coronavirus. He was negative. We gave thanks to God, and Mahdi came out of quarantine and rejoiced with his family.

As you can read, my work with the refugees continues. I have been working with refugees for two years now, and it has been four years since many have been stuck in Greece against their will. I have built many friendships. When the refugees leave Greece for other countries, they continue to reach out to me with news of their heartaches, successes, achievements, prayer requests, and thanksgiving for answered prayers.

We are concerned about the news of the fire in Moria Camp in Lesbos, Greece, that houses 13,000 refugees. We pray more European countries will open their borders to receive and welcome the refugees.

Again I thank you so much. Because of you, we can fulfill our Lord Jesus’ commandment to go into all the world and tell the good news to all creation together.

Serving Christ with you,

Nadia Ayoub

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