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The Power of the Life of Jesus

A Letter from Nadia Ayoub, serving in Greece

Summer 2024

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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And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life and this life is in his Son. Who has the Son has life; who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” 1 John 5:11-12 

Dear friends and family,

I greet you all in the name of the Lord Jesus, the Christ. I give thanks to God for he is faithful and has given us eternal life in his Son, the risen Lord, Jesus Christ. I thank you so much for your witness to the eternal life we have by faith in Jesus Christ, and your partnership with God’s mission by extending His kingdom of justice and peace among all people. Thank you for your prayers, encouragement and financial support that enables me to be in Greece and witness to God’s saving grace among the Ukrainians displaced by the war.

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March 8. Food, chocolates, and tulips for each lady to celebrate the international day of women

On May 5, we celebrated the resurrection of Christ, or Pascha, as the Ukrainians and the Greeks call Easter. I gather weekly with a group of women to celebrate the life, ministry, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. The week before the Holy Week, I asked the ladies if they would like to watch a film about Jesus’ life together. They chose “The Passion of Christ” because they had heard that the film was full of violence, and no one wanted to watch the film by themselves. I was happy that they had agreed on a film, and I trusted God would bring our plan to fulfillment. I promised to prepare the special meal that Egyptian Christians eat on “Good Friday”, or, as say we in Egypt, “Sad Friday.” To make sandwiches, I prepared falafel, tahini soup, green vegetable salad, and pocket Pita bread. For dessert, I brought dry dates.

When I served the meal, I explained that I had prepared 39 falafel balls. (This was because one of the packages of 20 falafel balls only contained 19.) I explained to the ladies that this was an unexpected reflection on the number of lashes Jesus may have received before his crucifixion. The Jewish law commands that a criminal should not receive more than 40 lashes. To avoid accidentally breaking this law, the Jews would only give a criminal 39 lashes.

All went well until the time came to watch the frightening movie, “The Passion of Christ” by Mel Gibson. We pulled the window shades down, set up a big screen with a sound system and began watching. We watched the birth of Jesus and his life with Mary and Joseph as a child. Then came his baptism, ministry, teachings and miracles. After an hour, some of the ladies started to leave, and halfway through the film, we decided to watch the rest of the movie the following week. Some of the ladies said, “We will watch the rest at home, it is not all violence.”  

Lydia reflected on the movie and said, “I think this long introduction was not necessary. The film should have presented the crucifixion part sooner.” I told her that watching Jesus’ life prior to the crucifixion was very important because it showed us how he healed the sick, fed the hungry, raised the dead, and taught the good news of the kingdom of God. If we did not know about this part of his life, we would not realize that he died on the cross an innocent man. He did not do anything wrong. Instead, he died for us to redeem us, so that we would not perish but have eternal life.   

A few days later on Saturday, Lydia called me and told me she needed to come see me. When she arrived, she was so unhappy because she had a conflict with her close friend, and she did not know what to do. Would she need to end her friendship or confront her friend and maybe have a fight with her? I listened to Lydia and told her that because she was angry, she would not be able to see her situation clearly. “Calm down, give it a little time, and talk to God about it,” I counseled her.

The following day I saw Lydia with a happy face, and she told me how, in the film, Jesus had said, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw the stone at the woman.” Then I said, “Praise be to God and to Jesus Christ who taught us to pray, ‘Forgive us our sins as we forgive everyone who sins against us.’” Lydia forgave her friend and is thinking about the best ways to spend time together with her friend that lead to encouragement and mutual support.

I give thanks to God for providing funds to keep the Education Center at Perichoresis open to serve the Ukrainians who live in Katerini. Teaching Greek and English helps them integrate into society. Getting help in writing resumes, applying for jobs, searching for accommodations, finding medical care, and accessing clothing and food helps them find balance and purpose. The Education Center is also a place for Ukrainian women can socialize, meet each other, and share news about what they have found and learned. It is also a place where they can share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Thank you so much for your active partnership as we together try to live up to Jesus’ commandment in Matthew 25 to love our neighbor, and the king will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these siblings of mine, you did for me.” 

Serving Christ the risen Lord and Savior with you, 

Nadia Ayoub 

 


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