OM Greece partners with various Mercy Ministries operating throughout Athens. Aimed at the homeless, poor, marginalized Greeks and migrants, they offer both practical help like food, refreshments and clothing, alongside a safe space.
One of these ministries is that of the Greek Evangelical Church of Piraeus. The ministry began in 2013 following the financial crisis in Greece, and has become even more vital in light of the refugee crisis and Covid-19 pandemic.
With the help of 11 volunteers, the feeding programme provides 600 meals every month in their Mercy Centre called Ninemia, a word meaning the calmness or stillness of the sea. Ninemia enables the team to serve in a more holistic way, offering showers, clothes, laundry, haircuts and refreshments, while providing a safe space in the community to demonstrate God’s love to the marginalised and foreigners. During the pandemic, the feeding ministry was forced to adapt due to the restrictions, but has now re-opened its doors for four days a week.
The team become close to the ones they serve, hearing their stories and journeying with them through the difficulties they face. As Pastor Pavlos, who leads the ministry, says ‘With our limited efforts, prayers and the power of the Gospel and God’s love, we believe that there is an impact in their lives. They always express their appreciation, and some have also shown a spiritual interest.’
Stories: John and Maria
John* is a man from Poland who, like many in Greece, struggles with unemployment and often comes along to the center. He engages in discussions with the team about Christ and the Good News of the Gospel and recently asked for a copy of the New Testament which the team were able to buy for him. The team is building a relationship with him through the ministry and anticipating how God works in his life.
The ministry has also been able to support Maria*, a Greek woman who, when in prison, asked Pastor Pavlos for a copy of the New Testament, Christian books and some shoes. Having now left prison, she is attempting to rebuild her life and integrate herself into the community. The team is building a relationship with her and supporting her in spiritual, psychological, and practical ways.
Ultimately our calling as Christians is to reflect Jesus in being salt of the Earth and to live by his words in Matthew 5 to “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” At OM Greece, we are so thankful for this ministry and are pleased to partner with Piraeus Church in this important work.
*Names changed for security reasons
Stories by: Pavlos Dimitriadis