The Refugee Who Built a Gospel Shelter for Refugees

As a refugee himself, Ebi knew the challenges other refugees faced. Sharing from God's provision was a natural outflow of his faith. TEAM Stock Photo

In 2016, Ebi lost his country. In 2017, he lost his family — and hope for his future.

Alone in a foreign country, Ebi felt devastated, angry and directionless. But God had a plan no one could have predicted. This lonely refugee was about to become a force for the Gospel among Muslim refugees.

A Broken Life Leads to Christ

Ebi and his family illegally immigrated from Iran to Greece in 2016. By the next year, Ebi’s life was in such disarray that his wife decided she couldn’t remain with him. She took the kids and left. 

But through the support of friends like you, local believers and missionaries like me are sharing the Gospel with refugees like Ebi.

As Ebi heard the Gospel again and again, he decided to put his trust in Christ.

From that day on, Ebi’s life took a dramatic turn from anger and hollowness to humility and service. His testimony was naturally powerful among his fellow migrants and Iranians. Many men wanted to hear and know of this Jesus he spoke of.

But life in a government refugee camp isn’t easy, especially if you’re trying to follow Jesus. The persecution from fellow Muslim campers can be intense.

Ebi needed rest and stability as he discipled men who were seeking Jesus. But it was clear the camps couldn’t provide it. And as a refugee, Ebi didn’t have many resources. Thankfully, God was already at work.

Abandoned Office Becomes Gospel Shelter

In 2018, Ebi found an abandoned, single-level office building 30 minutes outside the Athens. The building had been empty for years and now sat lonely beside a major highway. The grounds were overgrown, and most of the windows were missing. Even so, it had a solid roof and walls, a working bathroom and a fireplace for heating and cooking. 

Over the next year and half Ebi brought men to the office building. He brought them off the streets and offered them housing, stability and the hope of the Gospel.

During this time, 80 to 100 or more men came through the house.

All of them were Muslims. Many were seekers.

The home had a tight capacity of about 12 men at a time. Whenever the numbers dropped, Ebi would go in search of new Iranian and Afghan men in the Athenian parks. And over time, God began transforming lives!

A broken window in a building

When Ebi found an abandoned building in Athens, he didn’t just make a home for himself. He spent the year inviting other refugee men to live and study God’s word with him. (Stock photo)

Men Find Jesus Through Discipleship

The men who passed through the office-home were in hard circumstances — but each had the Gospel planted in them. Several came to Christ over that year. 

Living there, the men couldn’t avoid the hope of Christ. Whether they had food or not, they started each day in Scripture and ended them by reading the Word together under Ebi’s direction.

Ebi started a Wednesday night Bible discussion group at the house. He brought the men into Athens each Sunday to attend a local Afghan fellowship. And as Ebi shared the Gospel, he met some other people working to share it, too: TEAM missionaries.

Kind friends like you help send TEAM missionaries, like me, to places of critical need around the world. One of those places is Athens, Greece.

We connected with Ebi through the Afghan fellowship. Through your support, we got to give these men cooking appliances, food, gifts and prayer support. We helped them with medical needs.

We also got to help some of the young believers get to a small island to register legally. This offers them the best chance to gain their Greek asylum approval!

Will you join the movement to make disciples in refugee communities? The need around the world is overwhelming — but with willing hearts, we will see God work powerfully. Check out diaspora ministry opportunities today!

Refugees Sent to Share Christ in Europe 

In 2019, four more men were baptized after local church leaders confirmed their understanding of the Gospel. 

And now, men from this house are being sent to European nations with the Good News! This is how God works organically though the power of the Gospel to establish His church. The indwelling Spirit makes discipleship a natural part of our lives.

There was no plan for this work, and Ebi certainly had no dreams about such a hard life of love and discipleship. And yet, according to our Lord’s grace and will, he has used Ebi mightily. He is multiplying the Church in ways we could not see or plan or fathom.  

A Call to Prayer

Ebi still has challenges ahead. He still longs for reconciliation with his wife and young children. They’ve disappeared into Greece, and he doesn’t know where they are. And recently, Ebi was evicted from the abandoned building.

Please pray for Ebi as he continues to serve and disciple men in Athens. Pray that Ebi will find his family, find work and continue to walk by faith, building the Church as he loves those around him.

Ask God to provide a place to legally disciple these men passing through Athens.

As you pray, consider your gifts and skills and all God has given you. How can He use you to love and shepherd those about you? This, too, will multiply for his glory!

Thousands of people flee their homelands every year. Is God calling you to reach them with the Gospel? Explore how you can minister to refugees and immigrants in the midst of their despair. See how you can be a light in the midst of turmoil!

Learn more about diaspora ministry and ways to serve refugees. Explore missions now

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TEAM - The Evangelical Alliance Mission

TEAM partners with the Global Church in sending disciples who make disciples and establish missional reproducing churches to the glory of God.

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