For now, we don’t have a set schedule. And to be honest, we have felt more like tourists during our time in Peiraias. We have eaten…A LOT. We have taken strolls around town, visited the markets and just relaxed. But I’ve seen God working through this time as well…
In church Sunday, the sermon and songs were all in Greek, but thankfully Pavalos provided a translator, Po-pi. The sermon was on Revelation and Pavalos’ sermon was one of urgency and truth. Often, we don’t want to think about the punishment of non-believers, that they will be thrown into the lake of fire. Worse of all, we don’t want to think about our friends and family not being in paradise with us. It sounds evil. It breaks our hearts. But it shows us the truth. The truth that God reigns over all the world – the Heavens AND the earth. Who are we to deny the King of all? Who are we to run and turn away from Him?
I saw something beautiful during lunch Sunday. It was a beauty that cannot be explained by anything other than the work of the Holy Spirit dwelling within God’s precious children. That beauty was language. There was a mixture of three different tongues being spoken around the table – English, Spanish, and Greek; however, the language barrier did not impede our fellowship together. The Holy Spirit was the mediation of the languages, and Satan’s attempts to prevent us from worshiping the Lord together could not withstand God’s power. I could not help from thanking the Lord for His spirit of truth dwelling within us. He painted such a beautiful picture of the marriage supper of the Lamb in which all of His children will be united together with Christ and rejoice as one.
Sunday night, we were invited to Second Church in Athens to hear the Moody Bible Institute’s Men’s Collegiate Choir sing. It was absolutely beautiful as they sang old hymns, and it was nice to get to talk to other English-speaking people!
Monday, we met Pavalos downstairs in the church to help any way we were needed. We began with a devotion and then immediately started cleaning closets and around the church. Let me just add – the closets had not been cleaned out in ages it seemed! But I did get a few souvenirs to bring home (one was an old Greek map of Paul’s ministry journeys)!
Tuesday, we went to the market. I’ve never seen anything like it! There were more fruits and vegetables than I’ve ever laid eyes upon, as well as the most fresh and beautiful. Our goal at the market was to pass out fliers about the Gospel, free worship, and an actual relationship with Jesus Christ. The hard part: we could not just hand them out to people. Greek Orthodox has high power here, and anything done evangelically could get us in trouble with the law… So, we conspicuously placed the fliers in people’s buggies and bags, almost like counter-pick-pocketing, ha!
After we left the market, I got sick to my stomach. Thankfully, we didn’t have too much going on the rest of the day so I was able to rest. I couldn’t eat much, but Vickie was kind enough to take care of me with hot Chamomile tea and bagel chips.
Wednesday (today), we woke up and went to get breakfast at a café, then headed to the post office and shops. We have mostly been reading, doing laundry and resting until lunch. Vickie and Lisa keep joking with Rachel and me about how they want to set us up with their sons...but don’t worry Dad!
Around 1 today we will finally get to meet Argyris (he teaches at the Bible Institute in Athens, which will be our main home for the summer once we get back from Volos) and his son, Eric. We will have lunch, go to the beach and then clean the sanctuary before Bible study.
I ask that you keep praying. People here are all very welcoming and kind, but so closed off to anything concerning the church or Christ. I guess you could say relationships seem very surface area. Pray for my team and me as we are challenged daily with communication, flexibility, and love for the people and culture.
And I also want you to know that prayers are not one-way. You are all in my prayers back home. I pray your love for the Lord grows and that He enables you to genuinely love one another - even our enemies, to follow the authority you’re placed under, and to show Christ through everything you do each day, not because you feel you have to, but because you love God so much that you WANT to serve him with all He’s given you. I also pray we don't let our differences with others prevent our kindness and fellowship with them, keeping in mind the marriage supper of the Lamb and the river of Life to come. Never forget where our finish line is…
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4