Friday, June 15, 2012

Fresh Air for Greece

We can bring light where there is darkness.

For my Greek friend Fotis Romeos, spring did not come this year. “It has been a raining, gray, and crying season,” writes Fotis, a firsthand witness to the economic crisis in his country where unemployment has surpassed 20%. Over 500 Greeks lose their jobs every day, and the impact hits everything from schools and hospitals to churches and Christian bookstores. 

The financial and social turmoil brings ministry opportunities—and huge hurdles— for the Greek editor of The Upper Room devotional guide. Yet through it all, Fotis provides The Upper Room for those who hunger for daily time with God. 

“People are depressed. They feel helpless and hopeless,” adds Fotis. “We are so glad to have The Upper Room devotional guide. It is a much-needed message of hope that gives strength to families and individuals.” One Greek woman recently asked, “Please, could we have these magazines? It has been a great encouragement for us.” 

Fotis explains that the need extends beyond Greek citizens. Greece receives thousands of refugees every week from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, and all over the world. Greece is often the first stop for refugees fleeing to Europe. “They are trying to find a better future, and we want them also to find hope and to find Christ.” He notes that the Greek edition of The Upper Room is often used to teach the language—and a daily spiritual practice—to refugees.

Late last year, during a “family reunion” held in Athens for Europeans working with Upper Room ministries and publications, Fotis guided us to stunning historic sites. Weather and time have taken their toll on grand buildings like the Acropolis and Athens Temple, but the architecture and views remain magnificent.

While the world news reports the failing economy in that place of history and beauty, I can’t help but remember one particular image from my trip last year: stone columns of the Acropolis in need of extra support are bolstered by strategically placed steel beams, and scaffolding enables workers to make needed repairs. What a symbolic image as I think of our Christian brothers and sisters in Greece who so desperately need our support as they reach out to neighbors in need! 

"The devotional guide is like a breath of fresh air for its readers,” Fotis explains. Sadly, distribution of that “fresh air” has become increasingly difficult. Postage costs for mailing The Upper Room have increased 500% in Greece!

We are learning to depend literally on the Lord for each day, and this is the greatest lesson the crisis is teaching us all—to depend only on God,” says Fotis. 

Please consider a gift to the International Editions of The Upper Room and help Fotis and our other ministry partners around the world bring a message of Christ to millions of people hungry for hope.

Because of donors like you, The Upper Room daily devotional guide reaches nearly 100 countries, in 40 different languages.  

To donate to support the International Editions of The Upper Room, visit

Click here to watch a video message from Fotis Romeos.

Sarah Wilke, 

Publisher of The Upper Room