Mark and Anastasia Petrou work in the Christian community center for Roma kids in Greece. Mark oversees all the programs and outreach for the kids, and Anastasia is in charge of the preschool program and the after-school program.
Mark Petrou attended the Bible School in Athens. When he finished the program in 2015, he spent the summer in an orphanage in Tanzania teaching English and teaching the good news of the Bible to the kids. It was a summer that put a huge burden on Mark’s heart to serve underprivileged kids. When the summer ended, he went back to Athens and started working in a church and serving in various ministries. He was then invited to help with a new ministry that was serving Roma kids in outer Athens. The first day he visited the ministry he drove 30 minutes out of the city only to find kids living in worse conditions than the kids he was serving in Tanzania. The Roma kids had not had a healthy childhood, held a pencil, attended school, or slept in a normal bed. It was mind- blowing for Mark that these kids were growing up in the same city where he had grown up, but they had nothing. Immediately Mark felt the Lord calling him there. Mark realized that he didn’t have to travel 48 hours to the middle of Africa in order to serve underprivileged kids; they were right here in his backyard.
Since starting to work with Roma kids, Mark and his team have put more than 100 kids in school and have improved the program in order to better suit the needs of the kids by working with the principals of the public schools in the area. Additionally, they teach the Bible eight times per week in the preschool and after-school programs using the Good News Clubs teaching model. The Lord has blessed the ministry immensely, and even though the Romas are a very hard crowd, they are changing their ways and understanding the effect that a relationship with the Lord has in every aspect of their life.