May 8, 2017

Good Monday afternoon from Athens, Greece! Yes, I am in my hotel room after a long Monday here in Athens. It is closing in on 9:30pm as I write this and it has been a whirlwind last few days. I don’t have the time to write everything here but I will give you some now and when we get back you will hear and see more.
As many of you heard our journey began with an adventure in travel on Friday. We left DFW after a delay and made it to Chicago with just barely 40 minutes before our next flight. But our flight from Chicago to Toronto was delayed first because of mechanical difficulties and then it was one thing after another. We were supposed to arrive in Toronto and have a 3.5 hour layover before our flight to Athens. When it became evident after our third time on and off the plane in Chicago that we were not going to make our connecting flight to Athens we began to scramble to try to get to Athens at least sometime on Saturday. We finally managed to secure a flight out of Chicago at 6:00pm headed to Munich. So after being awake for about 16 hours and in Chicago for about 8 hours we were finally headed overseas. We made it into Munich and then got a flight to Athens. We arrived there about 6 hours after our scheduled time of arrival so to say we were exhausted is an understatement. We made the ride into town to our hotel where Will met us and after a brief refreshing off we went for orientation and then dinner. By the time we finally got to bed most of us had been awake for about 36 hours straight.
Sunday we started our time of walking through the “Fruit of the Spirit” where I challenged the team to exhibit love to each other so that those around us could see Christ in us. We did this at breakfast which was around the corner at our new favorite place called “the Bread Factory.” We went from there to Mars Hill for worship where Will challenged us with the story from Acts 17 about when Paul came and spoke at that very spot. It was extremely convicting and inspiring. We then had lunch by the Agorra and then gbot in a little shopping in the Plaka area before meeting back at the center for more teaching later that afternoon. That evening the team took in a few sites such as the changing of the guard and the old Olympic Stadium.
This morning, Monday, I woke up with some serious jet lag. I had slept well but I was tired and hurting in more places than I care to mention. We went back to the Bread Factory where I encouraged the team to show Joy even in the midst of jet lag. Jennifer also shared a devotion to the team that God had laid on her heart. Tomorrow, Judy will be sharing with us and each day a different team member will have the opportunity. We then went back to the center for more training on how to share our faith and how to easily explain the gospel in a reproducible form. After lunch we were then divided up into teams of two and went out with a local who led us into areas that are highly traveled by refugees. We then began to search for opportunities to interact with them and to hear their story and pray for them and if possible even share the gospel with them. It was very challenging and tiring but it was spiritually motivating and encouraging. God used it in each of our lives in amazing ways. We have begun to see not only how God is working in the lives of refugees here in Athens but how he wants us to take this home and use in our own communities. After about 3 hours on the street we came back for debriefing and the day concluded at dinner with more conversations about the day.
God is working in our lives and using us to touch lives here. Please pray for Will and the rest of the workers here. Pray for us as we labor tomorrow in the center and serve many people who will come though seeking help. Also pray for Gayle and I as we have an appointment on Wednesday to meet up with a young Pakistani Muslim who wants to hear more about Jesus. Pray that every moment here will be used for God’s glory. Pray that God will begin to challenge you as well.
More to come!