A Kurdish refugee in Greece who lost his wife and daughter in his home country was suffering a major epileptic seizure in the offices of a native ministry.
Local missionaries tried to protect the head and tongue of the young man, who was shaking violently on the floor. The ministry leader and others were praying for him.
“He speaks Kurdish, so he wasn’t able to understand the language we were praying in, even if he could hear us,” the ministry leader said. “Finally the seizure stopped, and we moved him to a sofa. After he fully came to his senses, he looked at us and asked, ‘What was the prayer you were praying? I was in peace while you were praying.’”
The workers were stunned. When he had first come to the ministry offices in Athens seeking social and legal help, he had suffered a lesser seizure. The refugee also had been suffering from mental health issues.
“We looked at each other in wonder, as we knew that he was having a seizure while we were praying,” the leader said. “We asked him how he knew we were praying. He answered positively and repeated that while we were praying, he felt at peace. We knew we were standing in front of a miracle.”
The refugee pointed to a tattoo of a cross on his arm, saying that he’d had it placed there in honor of a Christian friend he’d known years ago who often prayed for him.
“Certainly the Word of God doesn’t return empty, and our prayers are not in vain,” the leader said. “We would so much have loved for that friend to be present as we were praying and leading this man to Jesus.”
The local missionary interpreting for the refugee had established a friendship with him, and he handed him a Bible. The refugee thanked him and said he wanted to know more about God. The next week he returned for personal Bible study with the local missionary.
“He can’t concentrate for more than 10 minutes, but as he was leaving, he asked for his next appointment,” the leader said. “Please pray for him. The authorities have since announced quarantine for the camp where he stays.”
Ministry amid Pandemic
Ministry is continuing in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government has requested that organizations such as the local ministry conduct as many services as possible online, but most refugees speak only their mother tongue and have no laptops, much less knowledge of how to use them.
“Our interpreters are facing crowds every morning,” the ministry leader said. “Despite the fact that we open at 9:30 in the morning, the people are queuing long before in order to ensure they will be helped the same day.”
Providing food, clothing and baby supplies, as well as help in applying for asylum and housing, local missionaries take all pandemic precautions possible as they serve refugees face-to-face.
They see cases regularly that break their hearts.
New regulations cut housing and financial support for refugees after one month, and the ministry received a phone call from a single mother the team had helped; she asked if they could pick her up after authorities told her to move all her belongings outside of the house from which she was being evicted. In another case, workers were helping an Iraqi mother with her asylum application when they heard her 5-year-old son ask if he could get a passport because he wants to visit his grandmother.
“Obviously, no organization can do this,” the leader said. “It was enough to bring tears to all of us; a generation is uprooted and is growing up with the hope only of a passport.”
Refugees welcome the team’s spiritual support as much as the physical aid, and those who have received Christ are now offering God’s comfort to new arrivals. At a women’s meeting, a refugee who had been victimized by traffickers could not stop crying after sharing about her journey.
An older refugee leading the meeting suddenly declared, “Be strong. Three years ago I was sitting in her chair, and two years ago [name withheld] was sitting there, and last year [name withheld] was sitting there – and look at us now! We are new persons.”
Making regular visits to a refugee camp, workers are showing the love of Christ in ways that refugees cannot help noticing. A Muslim refugee who has seen the spiritual effect of workers on the refugees recently showed up at the ministry’s offices with a man in his 30s and presented him to the leader, saying only, “Change him.”
“What do you mean?” the leader asked him, to which he replied, “Change him, make him like you.”
“When I said I still didn’t understand, the Muslim leaned over secretly and whispered, ‘Make him a Christian!’” the leader said. “So, the Muslims are bringing Muslims to accept Christ and be changed. With every challenge, we have the joy of seeing God in action. It is overwhelming, indeed, to observe our Jesus bringing joy and peace where only despair existed.”
The leader was thankful that donors making these ministries possible are the heroes behind such scenarios. Please consider a donation today to help local missionaries make the love of Christ known to desperate refugees.