Updates‎ > ‎2016‎ > ‎

March

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Fascinated by the fountain at our local park
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At Pyxida, Kypseli
church community center
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Sunday morning studying
the Ten Commandments
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Theodore continues to enjoy his Sunday school class
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Pretty ladies in pink at the Kypseli women's fellowship
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A reminder to pray
for the refugee crisis

α. The opportunity to combine our strengths to lead a chapel service together for the Bible College family, reminding us all to let Jesus be the Lord of our lives, surrendering our hopes and dreams, and trusting Him with our futures.

β. The free workshops offered at our church plant community center, helping people learn useful skills towards future employment, including coffee barista classes, a carpentry workshop, and Pavlos' computer programming tutoring.

γ. One of the midweek Kypseli Bible study groups overflowing with people of all ages, leading us to consider dividing in order to keep multiplying!

δ. Meg's good health through the early months of pregnancy. You read right! We are joyfully awaiting the arrival of a sibling for Theodore.

α. Our graduating students. May they seek God for peace and clarity in their next steps, and trust him one day at a time.

β. The start of a regular women's fellowship group at our Kypseli church plant, including both a formal hour of prayer and a more informal hour to intentionally build new and strengthen current relationships with the seasoning of the truth of Christ central to our conversation.

γ. The ongoing political issues across the world. All the overwhelming wars and conflicts, and the scary, corrupt leaders (or potential leaders!) simply drive us to our knees to pray for God's mercy, wisdom and leading. May He truly work in the hearts of man to transform them for His glory and Kingdom purposes.

δ. The Bible College annual ministry tour
(see below)

Coffee time with PavMeg

What can you tell us about the refugee crisis in Greece?

    First of all, that it really is a crisis. Just in the past year, nearly 1.3 million people have fled to Europe seeking asylum within the European Union. Most of these people do not lack money, but since obtaining visas while in a warzone is impossible, they do not have the option to fly, drive, or sail into Europe. As a result, most of them flee by paying traffickers more than $1,000 per person for a spot on an inflatable boat that will cross the Aegean Sea from Turkey to a Greek island. This crossing has proven to be very dangerous. The distance is only 3.5 miles, but it takes them hours due to the overloading of the boats and the weak motors used. Many of the boats take in water and sink, and some end up capsizing as they arrive at the rocky shores of Lesvos island. More than 3,700 people have died during this journey, 10% of whom were children.

What happens upon arrival?

    Once ashore, men, women and children have to make a 30 mile hike to register with the Greek authorities. After a few days, they are transferred by ferry into Athens, and once there, they’re on their own.
    Given that Greece is still going through the worst financial crisis in its modern history, these people have no desire to stay here. Their final destination is the northern European Union countries. However, to get there, they still need to travel through the Balkans. Many succeeded in doing just that, however FYROM (aka Macedonia) has recently decided to close their borders indefinitely. The result is that there are currently at least 42,000 refugees stranded in Greece without any hope of traveling further into the EU.

So what is going to happen?

    While the politicians try to figure this out, about 12,000 of these people have set up camp by the (closed) northern border of Greece, the rest have camped in the public squares and the port of Athens, while more keep arriving at the island of Lesvos. There is little the government can afford to offer to these people. Most humanitarian help is provided by foreign and local NGOs, some churches, and by regular Greek people.

    In light of all of the above, the Greek Bible College decided to dedicate this year’s ministry tour to the refugees. Pavlos will be going to Lesvos with our students and other members of the faculty and staff, where in cooperation with a local church, we’ll see how we can help. Please pray that this trip will not only be a witnessing opportunity of God’s love to the refugees, but also a Christian example to the locals and an impactful experience for our students.