By the blow of a whistle the Tournaments began. Kentro 68 (the name of the Community Center) puts on a 2 week long "Futball" Tournament for the guys of the Neos Kosmos neighborhood. There are younger and older boy’s brackets, so when the Tournaments come to an end, the winners will be awarded. But they are all incredibly talented! My favorite is watching the younger boys score a goal – they treat this Tournament like it’s the World Cup… their dads get all excited and yell from the bleachers, and even their friends run down to celebrate a goal! This has also been a fun time for the girls in this community. Courtney (a worker at the Community Center) told us that for the past 3 years, they could never entertain the girls well during the tournaments, so we wanted to make it happen! We brought materials for jewelry making, face painting, caricature drawings, and supplies for an art contest – the girls and small children absolutely loved it… even the parents and grandparents are excited to see us each afternoon! (Thanks again to my supporters – these materials came from our team’s ministry funds and you helped put smiles on their faces!) When the awards are given to the boys for Fut Ball, we will announce winners for the girls who entered the art contest. Also, the teenage guys who were playing in the tournaments became interested in the jewelry making and asked for us to make them some “boy” bracelets. God really opened doors for us in communication with the guys and allowed us to share a little about our ministry, the Camp Kalamos, and ourselves. We are still in prayer that some of these kids will join us at camp.
I love seeing God at work – even through the act of breaking communication barriers. Hardly anyone here speaks English, with some only knowing single words or simple phrases. But all of these activities have given each child smiles and laughter.
As many of you know, there have been many strikes in the city of Athens due to the economic crisis Greece has been facing. Most of the strikes have only had violence on the front line of the protest in front of Parliament. However, the recent 48-hour strike (the largest protest since 1974) has resulted in several injuries, fires, and tear gas throughout the city. This has prevented our team from putting on the Tournament the past couple of days. Please pray for God’s work to continue for these kids and that the people of Greece will seek God through this trial, as it effects each family economically as well as emotionally. Thankfully, this has been a good time for our team to rest and get to know each other better. We have had this time for devotions, games, story-telling, and laundry.
"Love what is sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving in the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality...Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud..." Romans 12: 9-16