God has been blessing the Omonia Church daily. We could not imagine or dream any of the wonders He performs among His people in our congregation. The Omonia Church was a hurting congregation and God chose to revive it, renew it and make it a true refuge for His people, a place of healing, a church with a honest and true identity. Omonia Church finally promoted to its purpose as a place of worship and a place which is known by His love and not its theology. Omonia Church is a community of His people, conservative with the word of God and liberal with love and compassion.
God has shown His face to our families from the middle East in ways we have never witnessed before. All of us along with our middle Eastern families have been born again day after day over and over again.
All we started doing three years ago is either prepare a humble meal at the Omonia Church building or take snacks and prepared food to the squares where refugees were camping, travel packages and snacks to the buses, prior to March 2017, with destination Western Europe, or at the home port of Athens – Piraeus where four thousand refugee were camping.
Our God honored our small service and gifted us with an operation today where other organisations come to see how we have organized the refugee ministry and they can also implement it into their ministries.
Volunteers keep returning and those who were with us last summer are amazed at what and how God has moved and how our small efforts in the beginning are having such a huge impact on the daily lives and hopefully eternity of our families from the Middle East.
Often times if I arrive early at the church building, 1st floor and 2nd floor while no one else is there I will walk from room to room and wonder how God has done all this.
We now have a quite organised operation for English school. Our school has three levels, beginners, intermediate and advanced classes. 50 +- students arrive daily to the 2nd floor on time, lots of effort to train them on the clock, with their homework happy and positive about life and walking in to their home as they call the church building, they move and act like nothing is wrong in this world and forget their war stricken countries and all the struggles they have been through to arrive to Greece.
They laugh, play with their phones, read books in our small library, enjoy tea with cookies with at least three spoons of sugar, children play in the kids room, babies sleep in the nursery, lawyers meet with the families to resolve and help them with their asylum applications, our clothes boutique is daily being reorganised and ready to distribute clothes, often times we have medical staff work with us and care for people in our health room.
While all the above happens daily, this beautiful buzz is interrupted on Tuesdays and Thursdays for our 1.30pm worship/prayer time downstairs in the sanctuary. Now that is when Christians and Muslims sit down together awaiting to receive their spiritual food. The message from God is translated in Arabic, Kurdish and Farsi.
Two of the lawyers came to our worship time and they said this is logically impossible. How in the world the Muslim people will sit next to the Christian people and amen stories from the Old and New Testament? They love to hear Engel (gospel) stories and we will never stop saying them. For reasons unknown to us, our Muslim families have accept Mama Eleni to share with them these stories. One reason may be that I am older and that I have family and children.
Sometimes some of our guest volunteers will also share but if you walked inside the door during this special time you would raise your hands and praise the Holy name of God which name is able to bring together His people regardless what you hear or what your television whispers to you daily. A slice of Heaven, the house of God, a new Ecclesia filled with His people whom He called from the ends of the Earth. They have finally arrived and they are here to stay. They have a chance to find out all the lies they heard about Christians are lies and all the lies we have heard about them are lies.
The church is changing and is becoming more of what Jesus intended for His bride to be like. Less formality, less electronics, less….more of Him, more of His love and compassion.
Once the devotional is over we rise and pray in every language represented in the room. Hands are raised in praise from many of our people honoring and worshiping the One, the only One, who can make this possible.
Following our prayer dinner is served. The dinner is mostly prepared by our Muslim and Christian women. Men love to get in the way but usually women run them out. Our newly renovated kitchen is a place of attraction. Everyone loves to hang out in the kitchen. God has gifted this building with warmth and a sense of home. Home it is what these aching souls need. A place which welcomes them and they are accepted regardless…
Mothers and children come first to the serving table. Everybody has a job. The young men and women, serve food, facilitate the order of the waiting food line, prepare the tables, serve water, tea, help the mothers with small children make it to their table. The men are all hands on board, run from spot to spot to make sure we have what we need, clean the eating areas following dinner, men and women wash the dishes, mop, laugh, tell me to get my purse and go home to rest.
Finally and most importantly here are three areas of development. The program of English classes, preparing meals, food distribution, pampers/formula milk/strollers/ baby supplies/ clothing distribution/ legal support/ medical care/ children activities/ spiritual food and nurturing from the word of God/ housing support/ hospital support /dental care has reached a very effective level and the help offered is sustainable and important.
During our last family retreat in Corinth where many of our Middle Eastern families joined us the different nationalities compiling the Omonia Church were homogenized and the church became one body. Everyone knows everyone and against the odds of language barrier the language of the gospel which is the language of love has succeeded to bring all of us together. Sunday worship now is different. People from Syria welcome the Greeks and the Afghans welcome Iranians with a holy kiss.
Finally and very importantly is that one of the Syrian Christian men with his family and four angels is now meeting with the new converts and interested Muslims every Friday at 7:00 pm to nurture each other spiritually but also to train disciples so they will train and teach others. You see all this operation is out of control, out of our control and under God’s control. This operation is growing and maturing in every possible dimension. And it all started with a cooking pot and a meal. Just saying!
We are very happy and extremely grateful from all these graces God has gifted us with. However a day does not pass without us laying our labor at the foot of the cross. We lay it there when we are tired at night and pick it up early in the morning and for some strange reason is lighter!
Thank you for partnering with us in prayer and every kind of encouraging support. Come see us when you can! You will be renewed and you will receive much more than you have ever imagined.