Greece July 2011- Conquering Mountains

 

 On July 19th one of the smallest missions teams flew out of the States and landed in a small airport in one of the biggest cities in Greece: Athens. The only thing, however, was that we were not going to spend much time, if any, in Athens. Immediately after arriving we set our course towards Corinth and found our way to a private campsite in Isthmia/Kalamaki Beach. We were greeted by an amazing team of people from Hellenic Ministries who checked us in, gave us juice and cookies and even set up our tent for us. Did I mention we were going to sleep in a tent for the next 8 days? As daunting as that seemed, initially, we were provided air mattresses and the campsite was equipped with showers and toilets.  The four of us took in the beauty that was around us and even visited the rocky shore of the private beach to catch our breath.

Prior to our arrival, teams of people from around the globe had already arrived to help with the assembly of the Greek New Testament packets we were going to be distributing. This brings me to our purpose in Greece: Operation Joshua 4. For the past six years Hellenic Ministries has had a goal to distribute Greek New Testaments to every household in Greece beginning with the people on the islands with Operation Gideon 1 and 2. The goal this year was to finish the final provinces of Argolida, Achaia and some of Corinth that are nestled in an area called the Peloponnese. We truly had no idea what we were about to encounter. The first few days weren’t easy but we acclimated soon enough. Upon our arrival we jumped right into packing the Bibles. During this assembly time we were able to meet and talk with people from different parts of the globe. I even had the privilege of meeting Hellenic Ministries founders wife, Alka Macris, who even in her elder years was packaging and preparing the Bible packets. We were privileged to meet people from South Africa, Sweden, Canada, Romania, Germany, England, Iran, Albania, England and Cyprus. It was definitely a colorful arrangement of people represented to help the people of Greece receive the Word of God.

 

On Friday the 22nd we set out on our first adventure into the villages of Greece. We had rented a car and packed it full of Bible packets. There were five of us in the car and had no idea what the day held for us, but were expectant and excited. I was the driver and remained so for the duration of our daily adventures. This first day we were assigned a few villages that were tucked away in Mount Didimo. Mount Didimo is huge. In order to reach our first village of Didima, we had to cross and conquer this incredibly steep and high mountain. I want to share my journal entry of this first day: “Five of us set out on a journey into the unknown lands of the Peloponnese in Greece. We were attempting to trust our GPS to get us to a quaint village called Didima. Little did we know that it would be a three-hour rollercoaster ride through the mountains. Before we left we had to map out where we were going with a very useless map. Anyhow, the Lord was teaching us to trust Him. I was the driver who hadn’t driven a stick shift in over a year. On Mount Didimo we went and while on this mountain we almost had a head on collision with a truck and had to pull to the side so 15 cars could pass us by (you must drive quickly in Greece). Creeping up the mountain and trying not to stall out we saw the most beautiful water and scenery. We finally reached Didima population: 300. I had to follow the team in the car while they passed out the Bibles.”  As comical as it seems now, it was scary to say the least. We finished that exhausted and anxious about the days to follow. However, each day I knew we simply had to trust and believe that God would take care of us.

Each day we were assigned a new set of villages. One of our better days was our visit to Argos. This is a bigger and densely populated city in the midst of the provinces. Most of the teams came here and conquered sections of the city. There were no mountains on this day. They called it a “blitz day” and we gave out 395 Bibles to our area. Just the four of us. We were pumped and excited to be able to complete our task and get home before dark!

At the close of each adventuresome day, there was a “service” we attended that last two hours. There was praise and worship, different announcements or special items followed by a word from either Pastor Peter Grant or Tom Mahairas.  Peter Grant pastors a church in Atlanta, Georgia and Tom Mahairas is a Greek from New York. They poured out their hearts to us each night and in the morning sessions as well. One thing we learned, quickly about the people of Greece: throw away your watch, nothing is ever on time.

The ladies on my team: Carrie, Mary and Tracy got to pass and hand out the Bibles each day. We were fortunate to adopt a local named Margarita from Thesolanikki. She helped us when we couldn’t explain anything and helped me with my directions. I could see God using each of the girls in special ways. Tracy truly shined when speaking with the local people and they warmed up to her easily. Carrie picked up pieces of the language and tried her best to speak with the people. Many times the locals were so grateful that they would offer us coffee or juice so we would stay and talk with them. That type of response made us see how much these people are simply hungry for relationships and for the love of God.

On Sunday we had the honor of going to Ancient Corinth to share in communion and step where Paul stepped. The huge group gathered under the trees and a few of the main leaders spoke about communion and Jesus’ sacrifice for us. As a leader I had the privilege of holding one of the goblets of juice that we passed around after we partook of the bread. I got to keep the goblet! They let us roam around afterwards to see the Ancient ruin. It was liking walking through time; being in Greece is like that. It is modern and ancient at the same time.

On the last day we were at the campsite, Carrie felt like she was supposed to be baptized. The night before, Jonathan Macris, the leader of Hellenic, felt that there may be a need for people to be baptized. Carrie instantly felt that she was supposed to. After the closing ceremonies we asked if she could be baptized before our departure on Thursday from the camp. So, at 8am that morning, Pastor Peter Grant from Atlanta (and Scotland) among her missions team, a few people from other countries including Pastor Alfred Daniels from South Africa witnessed a baptism! It was truly an exciting way to end our adventure in Greece.

Although we faced many challenges each day, the Lord spoke to each of us and used us in a mighty way to reach the people of Greece. If we hadn’t answered the call, those people in the remote villages atop those mighty mountains wouldn’t have  a New Testament in their midst right now.

Advertisements

~ by Celebration Missions on August 1, 2011.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: