Koukaki is a community in the southeastern neighborhood of the city of Athens, Greece. There is a large sector of the community that is lost and hurting, many of whom need the basics such as food, showers and a friendly face who shows interest and compassion. We believe that the people we meet will be better able to reach their potential by seeing a glimpse of Jesus.
We work alongside the Second Evangelical Church which is made up of a wide variety of people: businessmen, lawyers, refugees, Greeks, and expats. Here’s a story our community transformation director tells about one of the refugees.
Rafi was once a high-ranking military official who reported directly to the president of his country on intelligence issues. His life was continually in jeopardy, and his top concern was to keep himself and his troops alive. He had little interest in spiritual matters.
He was no stranger to terrorism. Not only did he lose his wife and unborn child in a bomb attack, his life was later spared during a bomb explosion. On that day, as he walked into his office building, a woman stopped him in the lobby to beg him for help in an important personal matter. This brief delay saved his life as a remote-control bomb exploded in his th floor office killing everyone.
A refugee in Greece
Rafi’s career ended abruptly when the Syrian army invaded and took control of his country. He had two choices. He could either stay in home restricted only to his village with no pension or he could leave the country. Because his mother was Greek, he chose to come to Greece.
Once in Greece, he met and married Maria, but shortly thereafter, she became ill. She had a stroke which left her paralyzed, and due to diabetes, she lost her sight and one of her legs had to be amputated. Rafi stayed home to care for her and they only had a small disability pension to live on.
One day Rafi was passing the church and stopped to ask for help. After hearing about his wife’s situation, I went to visit them in their humble one room apartment. It didn’t take long for our conversation to turn to talking about Jesus. Rafi was like dry leaves struck by a match. Hearing about Jesus ignited Rafi’s heart, and his life was transformed. We visit him each week and are amazed at his transformation. He is telling others about Jesus and serves alongside of us in the feeding ministry.