Greece (MNN) — The Greek government has been in crisis mode since 2009. The government's incredible debt has caused a wealth of problems. The current economic instability has strained the country's relationship with the European Union; the International Monetary Fund and Eurozone governments have provided them with loans totaling at least $147 billion in order for the government to make payments to creditors; and the people of Greece are suffering because of it.
One of the most important sectors struggling from the deficit is the health care system. St. Luke's, has felt the blow head-on.
St. Luke's has been a running, evangelical hospital for over 40 years. It has gained international praise for its work, including the 2008 Hope Award ascribed them by Hope for Europe. St. Luke's has not only been highly celebrated for its medical successes, but has played a significant role in changing the attitudes of Greeks toward evangelical Christians.
Even this thriving hospital is near the brink of closing, though, as the government's debt directly affects them.
"In Greece, everybody's covered from medical insurance provided by the government, so the hospitals in Greece depend on the government for payments to keep their services going," explains AMG's Tasos Ioannidis. "Since the government has been slow in paying for the services, it has endangered a lot of the operations, including St. Luke's."
AMG notes that the crisis has created "drastic and severe cash flow problems" for the hospital that are slowly getting too overwhelming to handle. Ioannidis says things have improved as people have begun to lift the situation up in prayer, but things are still far from looking up.
Of course, that's only on a financial end. On the spiritual side of things, people seem to be more drawn to Christ now than ever. The crisis may be difficult to see through, but Ioannidis says the national debt has opened even more doors for ministry than before the major recession began.
"When [people] come to St. Luke's, they find Christian care," says Ioannidis. "They see a different attitude among the people, and we have the opportunity to tell them about the hope that only Christ can give. So it's a great ministry opportunity for us. It opens doors even more than before."
God is reaping spiritual fruit even during a humanly distressful situation. Pray that as the people of Greece begin to rethink what they genuinely own and what's truly important, they would come to one conclusion: Christ is all they need.
"Pray that many will come to know Christ as a result of this crisis, that we'll be able to share with them the Good News, and that the seed of the Gospel would fall on fertile ground," pleads Ioannidis. He also asks that you lift up the leadership of Greece and the many people hurting as a result of this crisis.