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Solidarity with the Persecuted

A Letter from Nadia Ayoub, serving in Greece

Fall 2022

Write to Nadia Ayoub

Individuals: Give online to E132192 in honor of Nadia Ayoub’s ministry

Congregations: Give to D500115 in honor of Nadia Ayoub’s ministry

Churches are asked to send donations through your congregation’s normal receiving site (this is usually your presbytery).

 


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Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Romans 12:14-16 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18

 Dear friends and families,

I greet you with the peace of Christ our Lord and Savior. With all my heart I continue to praise the Lord for he is the only good God who desires to reconcile us to himself through Christ and gave us the message of reconciliation to share with others so that in Jesus Christ we all might become the righteousness of God. I thank you so much for your partnership with your prayers, encouragement and financial support which enables me to participate in the reconciliation ministry among the refugees in Katerini, Greece.

On August 24, 1991, Ukraine declared its independence from the Soviet Union. This August 24, Russian authorities warned the Ukrainian people in Ukraine not to celebrate their Independence Day and not to leave their homes to celebrate. In response, many Ukrainian refugees in other countries promise to celebrate Independence Day. In Katerini, the Ukrainian refugees invited me to come out in solidarity to support them and we celebrated peacefully in front of the city council of Katerini. The mayor of Katerini greeted them and assured them of Greece’s support for Ukraine’s struggle.

The ministry among the refugees becoming more challenging. Since the Ukrainian refugees arrived, I have begun to translate for them, and care for them, be attentive to hear their stories, understand their needs, and advocate for them. Their needs are different from the needs of the Syrian refugees who are seeking asylum. Ukrainians are in Greece under temporary protection status. The Ukrainians hope, that with the help of the international community, that the war will be over soon, and they can return home.

Irina is a grandmother (baboca) who came to Greece in April 2022 with her two granddaughters. Her daughter-in-law arrived later with her daughter. All six live in an apartment provided by Perichoresis and they receive food, household necessities and medical assistance. With the help of Perichoresis, the children were enrolled in the Greek school system. Irina enjoys the Friday coffee time, especially the games. After winning the musical chairs game she sat and laughed until she cried. She said, “I do not remember when I ever had the chance to play before.” And when one Greek family friend of hers invited her with the granddaughters to spend a week on the beach, she said it is the first time she was able to take a real summer vacation. She is very grateful to God that she was able to come to Greece and receive care through Perichoresis as Perichoresis continues to follow God’s command in Matthew 25.

It is difficult for the children to adjust to the school system in Greece since they have to continue their Ukrainian education online as well. Many of the Ukrainians came with their own cars and now some of them, who have been in Greece for more than six months, face a difficult situation. If they want to keep their cars, they have to pay a fine. The law states that even if they have a one-year temporary protection residence card, foreign cars are only allowed to be in the country temporarily for six months. After that, the car must either pay import duties and taxes or leave the country with the car and return after a specified period of time.

The Iraqi Kurdish asylum seekers continue to receive rejections for their asylum cases and most of them use the service of smugglers to leave Greece for other countries. Smuggling people is a thriving business that costs a huge amount of money. It is cheaper for families if they can travel with false documents by plane or ship than traveling by road. One family explained to me that their parents talked to the “smuggler agency” in Iraq and then they will only pay the smugglers when the family arrives at their destination. One family tried to leave for Italy with false documents five times and the airport security would not allow them to pass. They then tried to travel to Italy overland on foot, by bus or by taxi. This way takes some days or some weeks. Some border guards will allow them to cross the borders, but other border guards will detain them and put them in refugee detention camps until they process their registration cards. When they are allowed to leave the camp, they can continue their travel to the next border until they arrive at their desired country. Every time a family leaves I become very concerned until I know that they arrived at the place they wanted to reach.

Please remember in your prayers all the asylum seekers who are still waiting for the decision of acceptance as refugees.

Please pray for the Ukrainians who came to Greece to have peace and become adjusted to the system in Greece.

Thank you so much and I pray the Lord encourages you to know that your partnership is encouraging others even far as those refugees in Greece.

I pray God gives you a blessed Thanksgiving celebration.

Serving Christ together,

Nadia Ayoub 

Please read the following letter from Rev. Mienda Uriarte, acting director of World Mission:

Dear Partners in God’s Mission,

What an amazing journey we’re on together! Our call to be a Matthew 25 denomination has challenged us in so many ways to lean into new ways of reaching out. As we take on the responsibilities of dismantling systemic racism, eradicating the root causes of poverty and engaging in congregational vitality, we find that the Spirit of God is indeed moving throughout World Mission. Of course, the past two years have also been hard for so many as we’ve ventured through another year of the pandemic, been confronted with racism, wars and the heart wrenching toll of natural disasters. And yet, rather than succumb to the darkness, we are called to shine the light of Christ by doing justice, loving kindness and walking humbly with God.

We are so grateful that you are on this journey as well. Your commitment enables mission co-workers around the world to accompany partners and share in so many expressions of the transformative work being done in Christ’s name. Thank you for your partnership, prayers and contributions to their ministries.

We hope you will continue to support World Mission in all the ways you are able:

Give – Consider making a year-end financial contribution for the sending and support of our mission personnel (E132192). This unified fund supports the work of all our mission co-workers as they accompany global partners in their life-giving work. Gifts can also be made “in honor of” a specific mission co-worker – just include their name on the memo line.

Pray – Include PC(USA) mission personnel and global partners in your daily prayers. If you would like to order prayer cards as a visual reminder of those for whom you are praying, please contact Cindy Rubin (cynthia.rubin@pcusa.org; 800-728-7228, ext. 5065).

Act – Invite a mission co-worker to visit your congregation either virtually or in person. Contact mission.live@pcusa.org to make a request or email the mission co-worker directly. Email addresses are listed on Mission Connections profile pages. Visit pcusa.org/missionconnections to search by last name.

Thank you for your consideration! We appreciate your faithfulness to God’s mission through the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Prayerfully,

 

 

Rev. Mienda Uriarte, Acting Director
World Mission
Presbyterian Mission Agency
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

To give, please visit https://bit.ly/22MC-YE.

For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6


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