Do you know where your next meal is coming from? How will you prepare meals and maintain personal hygiene without electricity and running water? Will the walls of your house keep you protected from the elements?
These are just a few of the concerns of nearly 170,000 Syrian refugees entering Greece this year, 40% being children. Seeking safety and peace, these refugees have fled their war-torn cities and journeyed across the Mediterranean Sea in overcrowded plastic boats seeking refuge. In the city of Thessaloniki, there are ten camps with an average of 2,000 refugees in each camp.
Earlier this year, during a time of worship and prayer among Arab and Jewish believers, we sensed that the Lord was leading us to reach out to these refugees, especially the children who had been through so much.
So, in August of 2016, we traveled to Greece alongside our brothers and sisters from an Arab speaking congregation in Nazareth. A House of Prayer in Thessaloniki was so gracious to extend their hospitality to our team. Staying at the house of prayer provided an excellent opportunity to worship and pray together as we began each day.
On our first day, God opened a door for us to enter a camp just outside the city that had not yet been reached by humanitarian aid. Because of this opportunity, were able to clean a school as well as distribute hygiene and sanitation items to hundreds of refugees. Later in the afternoon, we were able to distribute t-shirts to each tent, giving us an opportunity to build relationships. As we were traveling among the tents, we invited some families to join us at the house of prayer for a hot meal, fellowship, and family crafts. Many from the tents joined us that evening. As we spent time loving on the people, we could see the disappointment and fear wipe from their faces. We were even able to pray with and share electronic bibles with all who came.
During one of our days in the camps, we met a father who with his large family was forced to flee his city in Syria. This family had been in Greece since March without a job or income of any kind. Avi was able to share the gospel of Yeshua through a wonderful conversation with this man. When the man learned that Avi was from Israel, he was so surprised! Avi prayed with the man in the name of Yeshua. At the end of the day, we found out that the man had asked another volunteer to pray with him to receive Yeshua in his heart. We praise God for this precious new believer!
These are just a few of the many testimonies that came out of our time in Greece. Every single day we saw (former) Muslims give their life to Yeshua. The harvest is ready!