Is God speaking to you about serving refugees? The opportunities are vast. All we ask is that you:
* Have a passion and calling from the Lord to serve refugees in the name of Jesus
*Are team-oriented, have a desire to share the Gospel with the unreached, are compassionate to the needs of the oppressed, and are willing to serve
* Have a willingness to continue learning and growing, both spiritually and practically (through language and culture study)
Coming as a refugee worker is a great chance to be a part of a team and at the same time discover your unique contribution to the ministry.
At Helping Hands, we hold shared responsibilities for running our main program and carrying out regular tasks, such as preparing and serving meals and cleaning. Along with that, each team member has “personal ministry time,” in which there are opportunities to visit refugee families at their homes, study God’s word together, and do extra activities with them in and around the city. As Helping Hands is expanding its vision to see the invisible and meet holistic needs of refugees in Athens, there are opportunities for new areas of service that team members can focus on more intentionally. Some of these require longer-term commitments in order to learn the language and invest more deeply in relationships, while other opportunities are suitable for short or mid term workers. Here are some examples:
Most refugees in Athens do not want to stay here but also don’t know where they will end up yet. They are very interested in learning English, since they can use it to communicate wherever they go. Knowing English helps refugees feel more confident, and opens up doors for them which would otherwise be closed.
Along with participating with the regular Helping Hands program, you can teach adult English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at our new ministry building, “To Patriko”, at pre-beginner (illiterate), beginner and/or intermediate level.
If you are interested in this opportunity but lack training, One Collective offers a partnership with the TESL program at Wheaton College. There are 1 day to several week programs available which help prepare you to teach ESL in a ministry setting.
Working with refugee families means being with children, since most families have many children. These kids have been displaced, experienced trauma, often can’t go to school and lack stability at home. At our center they have a unique chance to “be kids” again, to have fun, feel loved and hear about Jesus’ love for them. There are opportunities to be involved with children both during and outside of our regular program.
During family meal days and tea house days we offer a story time, crafts and games for children. We also provide nursery care for babies and toddlers, so that parents can have a rare moment to relax and listen to the message without distractions. Some mothers prefer to stay in the baby room and spend time with our staff there, providing lots of opportunities for conversations. There are also opportunities to give away items such as baby clothes, diapers, wipes and toys to families in need. The nursery is a huge blessing to the refugees.
Along with participating with the regular Helping Hands program, there are opportunities to organize extra activities for children like park days, after-school games and tutoring for kids in school. There is also a need for child care for parents in other programs such as language classes.
Are you passionate about short-term teams? God uses short-term trips in the lives of many to increase their vision for his work around the world and lead them into lives of service. Many of Helping Hands’ partnering churches send teams to support our work throughout the year, providing a crucial element of our work. Along with participating with the regular Helping Hands program, you can be a part of our short-term team committee, helping to welcome teams and walking alongside them find as they learn about God’s work among refugees in Athens.
There are many teenage refugees in Athens, some here with their families, and some by themselves or with a brother, sister, aunt, uncle or grandparent. They often keep up a happy face on the outside, but inside there is a lot of pain as they have been removed from family and friends and are trying to find their way in a country which is not their own and where they don’t fit it. Along with participating with the regular Helping Hands program, there are lots of opportunities to befriend these young people through fun activities involving art, sports, games and outings. These friendships can lead to meaningful relationships and opportunities to mentor and disciple these teens. There is also a need to connect these young people with Greek youth who can help them fit into their host culture and help them navigate Greek schooling.
DISCIPLESHIP OF REFUGEE BELIEVERS
As the church is expanding among refugees in Athens and many are choosing to follow Jesus, there is a huge need for discipleship of these new believers. An integral part of the Helping Hands ministry is the relationships we build we our believing refugee friends who volunteer with us. We could not run the ministry without them. At the same time, they have an opportunity to learn, gain experience and grow in their faith through participating in the practical work, serving and sharing their faith with the refugee guests. If you are passionate about discipleship, join us as we live life alongside our friends and seek ways to intentionally disciple them in their walk with Jesus.
There is something special about the way food brings people together. This is especially true for the cultures of the people we are serving, which are highly centered around hospitality and eating together. The weekly community meal for refugee families at Helping Hands fosters relationships and spiritual conversations as refugees have a safe place to share their experiences, struggles, hopes and dreams. Come to help prepare, cook and clean for this weekly meal to serve some of the most vulnerable, not only through good food but also through creating a space to enjoy one another and hear about the Good News of Jesus. Additionally, there are opportunities to cook on our men’s and women’s ministry days, and to help develop and diversify our menu.