Themis Sirinides


The Hard Work of Waiting
In Koukaki, Greece

story
August 9, 2017
ITeams
ITeams

Koukaki is a community in the southeastern neighborhood of Athens, Greece. A large sector of the community is hurting and lacking the basic needs of food, showers, or even a friendly face. We desire to meet the many needs of our community. Whether it be a hot meal or drink, we provide a friendly environment for people to gather and find friendship. We also distribute clothing and blankets and provide people a place to shower.

It is difficult to serve people who are in a long-term crisis. Many of their questions and longings seem to lack answers. Waiting is more than hard.

Deimos, from Albania, lost his job over five years ago and hasn't been able to find work since then. He will work an odd job here or there, but nothing steady. For years I have prayed with him that he will find work, but he is still unemployed.

Sotiria, from Greece, has experienced physical and emotional abuse throughout her life, and poor choices have made her life even more difficult. You can see the desperation and hopelessness in her eyes when she asks me to pray every time I see her, but nothing changes.

Arash is from Iran. His life has been in limbo ever since he left in search of a better life with the freedom to speak and think as he chooses. After almost 10 years stranded on the “Refugee Highway”, he finds himself still looking for a country that will accept him so he can start a new life. It is tragic to see a young man’s productive years wasted. We pray, but nothing changes.

Yet.

Rafi, from Lebanon, was a high-ranking military official in his country, but due to political changes he was exiled. He came to Greece and married a Greek woman, but his wife’s health shortly after deteriorated. Once a toughened military man with authority, he now finds himself unemployed, a refugee, and a caretaker for his wife. Everything in his life has turned for the worst, but something keeps him going. He began reading the Bible for the first time and also met a doctor who introduced him to the church where he met Jesus. His life was transformed.

Christos lost his job seven years ago. With his sister they opened a newsstand, but a few years into the economic crisis, they were forced to close. His sister became ill and he now spends the last of their money on medical bills. We pray, but his sister doesn't get better. Christos is devastated, alone and broke, with no hope of a future. Through the Bible study the Holy Spirit starts to transform him. He started attending church, and I spend more time with him praying, reading the Word, and talking. He slowly has come out of darkness and into the light. After years of unemployment Christos found a job selling a magazine on the streets of Athens.

We continue to walk alongside the people of Koukaki because we believe in the power of the Jesus to transform lives.