To Share With Him Who Has None
The refugee crisis in Greece is compounded by an economic downturn the country has yet to recover from. But local Christians are serving the poor however they can—and the In Touch Messenger is helping them share the gospel in the process.
by photography by
A GROUP OF VISITORS HAS GATHERED IN A SMALL INNER COURTYARD IN ATHENS. There are women with headscarves, young men, mothers and children. In a few moments, a door will open and they’ll be welcomed into the building that houses Helping Hands, a ministry started by Themis and Donna Sirinides.
They come for a simple meal: french fried potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, a few pieces of cheese. And they get something else just as satisfying—a hug from Themis, a bright smile from Donna, a prayer from a volunteer. This is not a wealthy ministry, but what it lacks in luxury, it makes up for in armfuls of love. Sometimes, the simplest gestures can ease the biggest aches.
Themis and Donna have been serving the surrounding community for years. Through Helping Hands, as well as their local church, Second Evangelical Church of Athens, they offer meals, shower facilities, fellowship opportunities, and gospel messages.
The need in Greece is great. They began this work to help the many refugees in Athens in search of basic necessities—some estimates put the number of refugees and migrants entering Greece in 2015 at nearly 1 million. That’s almost 10% of the population.* And today, the ministry has grown to serve not only refugees, but also local residents who need assistance.
Some estimates put the number of refugees and migrants entering Greece in 2015, the height of the Syrian refugee crisis, at nearly
1 million people
OF THE POPULATION
When an economic crisis enveloped the country and many lost jobs, homes, and hope, Themis felt God leading him to expand their ministry to include all those in need. They stretched even further, adding a mobile outreach to those experiencing homelessness in the port area of the city. Today, they care for dozens, both locals and foreigners, providing sustenance for the hungry, blankets for the homeless, and hope for the hopeless. “We want to be useful,” Themis says, “and show the love and compassion of Christ in our community through service.”
Sometimes, it’s when things are at their worst that we are most open to God’s love for us. As they minister to physical needs, Themis looks for opportunities to introduce recipients to the One who can truly meet all their needs—Jesus Christ.
Themis and his team often come in contact with people from countries such as Albania, Syria, and Afghanistan. So the In Touch Messenger is perfect for evangelizing at the table and in the streets. With devices in languages like Albanian, Arabic, and Farsi, they can share the gospel with those who are far from home and long for the bread of life.
Once immediate necessities have been provided, Themis hopes that the light of truth will shine for recipients as they come in contact with Scripture in their heart language. And he’s confident it will. After sharing Messengers with some native Albanian speakers, he writes, “your gift of the [Messenger] devices opened a door to share the good news ... I'm content with the promise that His Word will not return empty. When a person receives a Bible or a gospel tract it's like a time bomb. You don't know when it will explode in their hearts, transforming them and people around them.”
Meanwhile, he and Donna will keep serving, keep sharing, and keep loving—whatever the cost.