Me and Susan atop a windy Mars Hill in Athens, Greece.
I’ve been waking up fairly early- usually right around 7 pm. That may night sound early to you, but I’m not a morning person; never have been. It’s nice and quiet around here for about an hour and a half at that time in the morning. I’ve been reading 1st Corinthians, praying, journaling through a Purpose Driven journal and working through Seth Barnes’ Art of Listening Prayer. I don’t have a history of spending an hour or more with the Lord everyday, much less doing so in the morning but this has been a great week and I hope I can continue the practice throughout my time in Eastern Europe.
We eat breakfast at 9:00 am. Everything is a little later here than at home. Lunch is around 2 and people eat dinner all the way up to 10 or 11 at night. It’s a very social culture. People meet at coffee houses or restaurants and sit all night. A lot of the college age students are just hitting the streets at 10 at night.
We’ve been meeting for a “share” time at 10 in the morning followed by some “group” time (the group we came with…the MC group, the Georgia group etc.). We worship at about noon and take care of chores around the house. We eat lunch at 2 and we’ve been leaving for our ministry sites at 3:00.
Earlier in the week our ministry consisted of servant evangelism around a neighborhood (picking up trash and giving modern Greek Bibles to people). Our goal was to invite people to The Oasis- a coffee house venue at a nearby refugee center. At the Oasis, we have a few hours at night to sit around and get to know people. The Georgia Southern University group has a Step Dance Team and they’ve been performing. There’s also a Drama team that performs. A couple of our teams have been making a Video/Film during the week that includes Greek people in the cast. We’re debuting the films tonight.
Of course, our ultimate goal is to share the gospel. The Oasis is a great venue for doing that. We can connect new believers right then and there with at least 2 local pastors and our resident missionaries.
One team has also been ministering in a gypsy settlement. They are squatters. The city is threatening to relocate them outside the city and bulldoze their current homes. The cool thing though is that just a few months ago our missionaries were met with resistance and now the gypsies are asking for the missionaries to continue coming to minister to them when they move to their new land.
The Greek people are very hospitable and receptive (mostly). The young people (high school through late 20’s) almost all speak enough English to converse with. Like young people in so many other parts of the world they are quiet eager to practice with a native speaker and they seem to like Americans- not the President so much- but definitely our college students. They are proud of their homeland. They should be; it’s beautiful here. I’m sure there are sketchy places in a city this large, but we haven’t seen them. I’ve felt safer here than most of the places I’ve been.
So…after spending a night meeting people on the streets and in cafés and then hanging out at The Oasis until 11:00 pm, we then take the Subway to it’s last stop and then walk about a mile and a half back to our house in the Suburbs. It takes an hour or more to travel in and out of the downtown area from where we live. That puts us back at the house at midnight or later for a pretty short night of sleep.