Could you be the gospel worker to help refugees in northern Greece

By Josh Chard | Greece in Europe

Few parts of Europe have generated as many refugee crisis headlines as northern Greece. Hundreds of thousands of people have passed through the area around Thessalonica and there is a huge challenge to meet their needs.

Riots at Eidomeni, tents erected in windowless factories and families pleading for permanent housing have been broadcast repeatedly around the world. However, a very different story has been unfolding outside the media spotlight. Across the city, hundreds of people are committing their time, money and skills to bring more than just food and blankets to the refugees.

Across the city, God’s people are at work. The practical needs of the refugees are abundantly clear but the Christians in Thessalonica recognise that there is an even deeper need for Christ.

The churches have come together across denominations to pool resources and open a ministry centre in the heart of the city – a place that can serve practical needs and provide a safe space outside the camps where relationships can be built and the gospel shared.

With the help of the Greek Evangelical Alliance, as well as gospel-focused agencies such as AMG International, AGAPE and the Child Evangelism Fellowship of Greece, this vision is now a reality.

On April 3, Christian leaders and church members from across Greece gathered together to officially open the Care Refugee Centre, praying that it would be a place for the love of Christ to shine.

The beautiful new space offers classrooms where Greek, English and German will be taught, play rooms for children of different ages, a room for medical volunteers to do check-ups, a laundry and shower facilities.

There is a room for collecting and distributing donated clothes and a larger communal room where Greeks and refugees can sit down together and share a coffee. In this way the love of Christ can be both demonstrated and shared freely with all those who come.

There are still many challenges if this ministry is to develop. One of the biggest is language, because most of the refugees speak Arabic and have little or no Greek. Christian translators are needed urgently.

Short-term visitors who speak Arabic would be a huge blessing, as would those with a longer-term calling. There are also opportunities to reach the children of the refugees, by helping out at the Child Evangelism Fellowship’s youth camp in the mountains.

The camp has turned old train carriages into shelters and also has zip lines, climbing frames, a sports field and even a tiny theatre. As yet, there is no one to run the camp full-time and a vacancy definitely exists, perhaps for a couple.

Get Involved

Many people are already striving to bring Christ’s love to refugees and migrants in Thessalonica — if you’d like to join them in this gospel calling please contact us

SIM Asset Publisher Portlet

Asset Publisher

SIM Asset Publisher Portlet

Asset Publisher

Related stories

More than 800 years of combined missionary service: a SIM Kenya legacy rooted in faith

The first night of the SIM Kenya team retreat wasn't filled with the usual icebreaker questions.  There was a team trivia night. One of the questions asked, “If you add up all the years of service on our entire SIM Kenya team, how many years would that be?”

Dynamic Diana creates a very healthy space for the gospel in Nairobi

When Diana Ayabei turns up for work in the Kenyan capital Nairobi she must be ready for just about anything.

Sao finds comfort and hope in Christ through palliative care team

Sao has been battling breast cancer since 2021. She lives in Angola, where life expectancy is just 62 and healthcare is far from perfect.  She has been from hospital to hospital but the cancer always seemed to be one step ahead. She was never able to get the right help. 

Widows in West Africa bonded by faith and community are evidence of God’s restorative love

Across West Africa, widows often confront a brutal reality. Ostracised by some traditions, they can be left feeling isolated and vulnerable. Widows are more likely to face discrimination and economic hardship, with a staggering 1 in 10 widows globally living in extreme poverty. As Marthe Chantal Ngoussa, President of the Cameroonian charity Widows in Distress, says, "The death of the widow begins with the death of the husband."