A Letter from Nadia Ayoub, serving in Greece
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“Praise the Lord all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord.” Ps. 117
Dear friends, families and church family,
I send greetings to you all in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Child of Bethlehem. I give thanks to the Lord with all of my heart for he is the joy of our lives, and with great joy I remember you all always because of you I have experienced God’s love and faithfulness for many years. Thank you so much for your partnership with God’s ministry and me in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Ukraine and recently among the refugees in Greece.
I thank God for His faithfulness through last year, for even it was hard time for all. Sometimes we were not able to express how hard it actually was, but we all trusted the Lord more, we have grown in our faith, and we have seen that the Lord is doing new things, in different ways.
The pandemic continues to be a big concern especially for people who are not vaccinated since they need to be tested regularly to ensure that they are free of the Coronavirus. I thank God I was able to receive my two shots and the booster.
My ministry with the refugees is going through different phases as COVID regulations and immigration laws change. The asylum seekers are patient and able to be happy with the freedom they have in Greece as they wait on the decision on whether or not they will be accepted as refugees.
The Peace Pastry Program continues to meet as much as possible. The membership of our group increased because more refugees from Africa and the Far East have arrived. We talk about many things. We began talking about the hardship people are experiencing in their countries because of evil leaders. We then began to talk about the origin of evil and sin and discussed the story of the creation and fall of the human race. We also shared our experiences with fasting and compared fasting in Islamic, Roman Catholic and other Christian traditions.
The Education Center continues to be a place where Greek, English and computer literacy is taught. I have also started to teach Arabic so that workers will be able to help the students. In addition, the Center is a place where refugees can get counseling, advice and help.
I thank God for He is faithful and continues to help me to make new friends. Eman’s family, her husband and two children, are becoming close friends. We find ways to meet and go together to the weekly open market and share our stories and inquire about each other’s welfare. They left their homeland because both Eman and her husband are university graduates and the war in their country meant that it was dangerous to stay, and they had no hope of finding jobs. They tried to cross the Turkey-Greece border four times. Each time the Greek guards intercepted them and sent them back to Turkey. On their fifth try, they reached a hotel where they met a Red Cross news crew. Because they made contact with the Red Cross, they were able to stay in Greece and were received as asylum seekers. They have been in Greece for three years and they have received the first rejection of their asylum case. Eman has family in Canada and America and hopes to be able to immigrate to either country. She is improving her English skills by talking with me.
I thank God that I have also become close friends with Rafa, who is a single mother with one daughter from Africa. She fled because of a family conflict. When she arrived in Greece, she was placed in a detention center. While she was there, the authorities tried to take her daughter away saying that the child was not hers. Rafa refused to let go of her child and insisted that she was her daughter. Finally, a humanitarian organization stepped in to help the poor mother. They ordered a DNA test that proved that Rafa was the child’s mother. She has lived in the housing assistance project in Katerini for three years now. Only recently did she receive the news that her asylum case was accepted. Now she faces a court hearing to litigate her custody case so that she can obtain travel documents for her daughter. Rafa always communicates with me about what is happening in her life, and she calls me when she needs help; for example, to translate for her lawyer.
I thank you so much. It is only because of you and your prayers, encouragement and financial support, that I can be here and experience God’s great love and faithfulness toward us all. I pray the Lord bless you and keep you safe during this new year, 2022.
Serving Christ with joy together,
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Tags: Nadia Ayoub
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