The headlines we read are almost numbing. So much hurt and suffering accompanied by such feelings of helplessness. We ask, “What could I do to make a difference?” Go Light Our World is pleased to support a missionary friend in Greece we’ve personally known for 30 years. We have to protect her name because of persecution against evangelical Christians from the Orthodox Church there. We’ll call her Mary (not her real name).
What we love about Mary is that she gives her entire life to advancing the gospel of Jesus in such practical ways. She purposefully approaches people searching dumpsters for some food. Mary has often invited sick strangers into her home and pays for their medical bills. She is a good friend to a single mom who lost her children through poverty. And Mary is your direct contact, not only with muslims who have never read the words of Jesus, but also with Syrian, Afghan, and Iranian refugees who fled to Greece from the wars that beset their homeland.
Mary counters the Orthodox teaching (that salvation is through good works) by openly witnessing to people and giving them New Testaments in their native language, encouraging them to read out loud the good news for their lives. Because of the economic despair in Greece, many people are realizing more and more that they need help from above! Here is just one account from Mary’s outreach that impacts people in hard places:
“The flow of thousands of war refugees (mainly children, women and teenagers) continue to arrive in Greece. Several countries of East Europe have closed their borders which means that most of them are stuck in Greece. Since all the refugee camps all over Greece are overflowing, thousands have no choice but to stay outdoors in the main squares. They have no place to go, nowhere to sleep, nothing to eat and nowhere to shower or do their laundry. I purchased 3 bags of chocolate and stuffed 10 sleeping bags with the Gospel of John in Farsi language and New Testaments in Arabic. As I arrived I saw the crowds and asked the Lord to show me from where to start and to whom should I talk first. I started by giving out chocolates to some children which opened up the door to speak to their families. A few teenagers knew a little bit of English and were happy to help by interpreting the adult conversation. I started talking to one family then to another and that went on for the next 5 hours! They were hungry, sick and exhausted since they have been travelling for months. Praise God, I was able to purchase all together 50 sandwiches from a nearby store and distributed to the kids first, teenagers and women! After listening to their tragic stories I hugged them and prayed with them. They told me how they run to escape from the Taliban, the Daesh and the Islamic State. They are running to save their lives and the lives of their children from the war zones.”
“They crossed Iran, Syria and Turkey. The European countries are very upset that the Greek government rescues them from drowning. What are we supposed to do? They told me how in Turkey the smugglers took all their money to place them on plastic boats so they could cross the Aegean sea to the Greek islands where they were rescued by the Greek coast guard. They were very grateful for the sleeping bags and for the sandwiches. They kept thanking me and I kept pointing to heaven and telling them that this is from Jesus! The Lord opened a wide door for me to show His love and I prayed with several families and eventually gave more than 20 Gospel of John in Farsi language. God surrounded me with His favor and protection and made friendship with several refugees.”
Maybe you’re thinking, “That’s very admirable, but what does it have to do with me?” Unless you have the means and opportunity to fly to Greece and quickly learn the language, your best opportunity – and mine – is to support a native person who is willing to feed the hungry, care for the sick, and comfort the lonely. . . on our behalf, and in the name of Jesus.
“How can I help?”
- Commit to praying. Put it on your calendar. Pray once a day or once a week. Ask God (who knows her real name) to give “Mary” strength and courage and means to carry his good news to hurting people. Pray for people like Mohammad and his family who Mary invited into her home to wash their clothes. Pray for boys and girls who were traveling all alone since their parents gave all they had for them to come to Europe in order to save their lives. Mary saw 5 of these teenagers reading the Gospel of John while I was still there.
- Give a little. $5-10 buys a New Testament in the native language or a bit of food for those who have so little. $25 or more can help toward the purchase of a tent for a needy family. $34 buys a sleeping bag for a child or mom sleeping in the chilly night air.
Thank you for partnering with GLOW in prayer and practical giving and doing your part to advance the Gospel through your love, giving and prayers!
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