We have an update from our Greece team! This post was written by one of the team members there in Greece, so we get the total inside scoop!
“One week down and halfway through the second, our team is having a blast in Greece! The first week was all kinds of crazy, but nonetheless we are finding our rhythm here. Praise the Lord for answered prayers! Our team continues to grow closer and closer as we learn to function as one unit, and the Lord has swung doors wide open in big ways to serve the Greeks and refugees!
Week two started with a day of rest. The OM short term volunteers and a few staff members all headed out on a sunny and breezy day to spend time in the Word, prayer, and worship. Throughout the craziness of missions, the Lord continues to show us how important it is to rest in Him in order to remain spiritually healthy. From the morning to late afternoon, we sang praises, prayed, and rested in the Lord with a magnificent view of the Acropolis and city of Athens. Our prayers were focused on team unity and functioning as the body of Christ- serving as one for His glory alone. It was a lovely day of restoration and revelation as we continued to learn more about living and thriving in Athens.
This week has been a big one because we have all finally been assigned specific ministries to work with! Jonathan, Greg, and Anna are working in a refugee camp with a children’s ministry, while Jordan, Molly, Lauren, Stephen, and Amanda are working in a church teaching English and helping with the children. We began our ministries on Tuesday and have been hard at work since!
The group working with the refugee camp went in on Tuesday with clear expectations of what volunteering in a children’s ministry would look like. They plan lessons, clean the classroom, and prepare for several hours of fun with the children living in the camp. The children come pouring in around early afternoon, and this team has an afternoon full of games, songs, and giggles! While some are out of their comfort zones and some are not, the Lord has been faithful to bring these children into the classroom to learn how to play and share. Despite language barriers, we already love these kids so much and cherish the relationships being built here!
Specifically for the refugee camp, we know that the Holy Spirit is active, but prayer is certainly needed for this community. Since the camp is run by the Grecian navy, we are not allowed to share the gospel in the camps. Please pray that our interactions with the children would radiate the love of Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Please pray that our team truly embodies this verse, that the people in the camp will see how the Lord has changed our lives. Also, we so deeply desire to form relationships with adults in the camp, so please pray that as we get to know their children they would become more trusting of us. Overall, these children provide so much hope and joy in such a hurting community, and for that we praise the Lord.
The team working in the church has a unique opportunity to serve refugees living within the city of Athens, not in camps. The goal of being here is to teach English to the parents while providing childcare so that they are able to take some time to learn. This team has the specific task of developing an English program that will be useful and methodical long after we leave. Since many are in the process of relocating, these refugees have the opportunity to learn useful skills to take with them. This team also has the unique opportunity to explicitly preach the gospel as lessons are taught around reading and comprehending stories out of the Bible, specifically the Gospel of Luke. These refugees come to the church willingly. And hopefully through the love shown to them by volunteers and through hearing the gospel, many will come to know Jesus during their time here.
Please also pray for this team and the people they get to encounter. It is a huge praise that the Lord has opened the door to preaching the gospel openly to refugees here. Pray that this team would be able to settle into this ministry and establish a functional English program that can be used after our team has left. Also, in terms of the children, please keep these sweet ones in your prayers as they have experienced so much pain and loss. Pray that they would not suffer long-term effects of this pain, but that the Lord would provide peace and comfort during such a chaotic and confusing childhood.
With week two almost in the books, we are so thankful for all of the opportunities the Lord continues to provide for us! We cannot wait to see what is in store for the next four weeks!
The Greece Team”
As a re-cap, here is a list of the praises and prayer requests from the Greece team:
- getting into a healthy rhythm
- doors that God has opened
- the children at the camps provide so much joy to the community
- pray that the children in the refugee camps would see the light of Christ in this team, since our team is not allowed to share the Gospel in the camp
- pray that the adults in the camp would begin to trust the team members so that relationships may be formed
- pray that the Greece team would be filled with the Spirit, and that He would provide an overflow of love, patience, energy, and joy.
- pray that the team working within the city of Athens would both HAVE and SEIZE opportunities to share the Gospel, since the team is free to share outside the camps
- pray that the city team would be able to settle into the ministry and establish a functional English program that can be used after our team has left
- pray for the little ones- they’ve seen and been through awful things; pray that they will come to know the Father of comfort, peace, and understanding and not let their pasts hinder them