June 25th, 2017
After the frustrations of last night, I was able to wake-up early enough to get in some time to both blog and do my daily Bible reading. I am now in Leviticus and reading through all of the various sacrifices is just a reminder that Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice and because of Him, I do not need to worry. It was also being up at the apartment before everyone else and just really taking the time to wake-up slowly.
At 9:30 AM everyone was awake and ready to go to the Church of Omonia for a day of church. When we arrived we were setting up chairs in circles to prepare for a Bible study. We were told to try to keep all of the Americans outside on the patio area in hopes of fostering more conversation amongst the Farsi-speaking people because Americans tend to dominate conversations. We read over the Parable of the Mustard Seed. Although it lasts only two verses, there is so much insight in the verses that can be applied to the situation we are currently in. Even the small and the insignificant can be used to do great things for the glory of God. As Christians, we are called to love all and provide a refuge for people, the same way the tree from the mustard seed provides refuge for the birds in the air.
“He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32
After that ended we moved into the main area where we would have our larger service. We began with a worship time including songs in Greek, English, and Russian. All worshipping together in a building in the middle of a run down city were peoples from nations across the world- Iraq, Iran, United States, Mexico, Colombia, Syria, Korea, UK, China, Ukraine, Greece and many others that I am probably forgetting.
Following worship, Jim Holway came up to preach in Greece one last time. He talked about how God uses instruments even though He is all-knowing and all-powerful. God uses us as instruments and gives us blessings so that we can share them with others. For me, that is really what this trip is about, finding what blessings God has given me and then figuring out how I can use them to honor and glorify Him.
We ended the service by participating in the Lord’s Supper and praying in English, Russian, Farsi, Greek, and Spanish. Following the service, we used the time to continue fostering relationships with the other missionaries and refugees over lunch. I got the opportunity to interact with a group of missionaries here from Italy for two weeks. After lunch, we continued talking and cleaning up the chairs and tables.
During Jim’s sermon, he held up cards that gave details to refugees in both English and Greek on how to get help. Austin and I approached Alexander to get a handful of them, so if we ever see the Iranian guy from the night before or any other refugee begging for money, we can help them by telling them where to go.
Eventually, we were one of the last groups of people in the building and we were starting to feel useless. On the first day, Eleni said to us that if there was never anything to do, we should grab a couple other people and begin to pray, so I grabbed other BHC people and we just began to pray for the people here, the church, and our group. When we said “amen,” Rusty had our plans for the evening and we were ready to go.
We brought one of the students from ACU that were volunteering at the church back with us to the apartment and once we all got changed, we headed to the metro station. We got our metro cards for the week and then climbed on to go to the Acropolis. Once we arrived, we again spent about twenty minutes arguing over what we should do instead of just splitting up into groups. Finally, Devon, Austin, Ryan, and I just went off on our own.
To really get into the mindset of what everything looked like during the time period, we went to the museum and got to see pieces of all the different temples to the various Greek gods. It was crazy to think about how the people in ancient Greece created a world centered around fake gods and essentially had no basis for their beliefs. Every single thing they did revolves around a world that was make-believe and did not exist.
When we finished getting through the museum, I got an herbal iced tea and water from the café. One of the best parts of going to the museum was that it was air-conditioned and the temperatures today would be reaching into the mid-90s. After basking in the cool air for as long as possible, we walked over to the square that we had entered when going to the Acropolis the other day. We wanted to get more of those delicious crepes. As we approached the crepe shop, we saw the group from the UK, so we stopped to talk to Trevor for a while. My white chocolate, coconut, and banana crepe was just as delicious as it was the first time.
Once we finished inhaling our food, we began the trek up the top of the Acropolis to the Parthenon. As we were going towards the ticket booth, a woman from Chicago stopped me and asked if I had just climbed to the stop with my boot. I said, “No, but I’m about to!” We talked for a little bit longer about how it had happened and I used that as an opportunity to tell her about the missions work we were doing. Her and her husband we in Greece on vacation and for her nephew’s wedding. After saying goodbye, we went and purchased our tickets.The views from the top were amazing as well as the structures themselves. Being up there you could really put yourself back in history. We stayed up there and wandered around until the heat got to be too much and we decided to go and find some nice air conditioning back at the apartment.
The views from the top were amazing as well as the structures themselves. Being up there you could really put yourself back in history. We stayed up there and wandered around until the heat got to be too much and we decided to go and find some nice air conditioning back at the apartment.
On our way down, a Kenyan man stopped up, put bracelets around our wrist and then after encouraging us and being really friendly asked us for money. I knew the tourist trap and refused to give him money, but Ryan, Devon, and Austin gave in. I know that they are there because of all the tourists, but they still seemed genuinely happy and as though they did want to bring us joy and smiles, so I did not mind the encounter.
Back at the apartment, I got a nice, cold shower, and then we played Exploding Kittens until the rest of group got back. We went around the circle talking about how we experienced God in our day. I talked about how after feeling discouraged the night before with the Iranian guy, God gave us the resources to be prepared in the future with the refugee help cards.
Once we finished, Nicole and I quickly met to pray and then I fell asleep before 10:00, exhausted from the day’s events.