Trip Journals: Africa | Cambodia | China/Bangkok/Singapore | Europe | Europe Cruise | Greece | Haiti | Iberia (Spain / Portugal) | India / Kashmir | Isreal / Jordan / Egypt | Italy | Maldives | New Zealand / Sydney | Peru / Machu Picchu | Russia / Baltic | Scotland | South America | Sri Lanka | Vietnam
2 weeks during the 2004 Olympics
8/14 to 2/27 in Greece
This was a mission trip arranged by Hellenic Ministries and it is called Operation Gideon http://www.operationgideon.org/ Hellenic Ministries (HM) http://www.hmnet.org.gr/ is a Christian agency which serves as a sponsoring and support organization for people called to serve Jesus Christ throughout Greece, the Balkans and the Mediterranean world.
This is a trip like no other trip that I have ever been on. My participation on this trip was inspired by many things, including my experience with the Greek Orthodox church back in 1997 and Jonathan Macris (head of HM) coming to Cumberland Community Church (CCC) in February, 2003. On this trip I felt many things, including joy, enlightenment‚ God, discomfort, hurt, and accomplishment. It is the work of Lord and the tribulations that accompany it. This is personal account of my experiences, feelings, and some the prayers during the trip. I dedicate this to all of you who supported me, prayed for me, and to those who also enjoyed this once-in-lifetime experience.
Table of Contents
HM Hellenic Ministries
OG Operation Gideon
HV Hospitality Village in Athens
USD United States Dollar
Poupon‚ as in Gray Poupon‚ The name of our teeny tiny Daewoo mustard gold color vehicle.
Operation Gideon (OG) is a 5 day International Orientation Conference for outreach in Greece near Athens International Airport and 9 day outreach to 40 of 80 Greek islands (3 days prayer and fasting/3 days outreach/3 days literature distribution). OG includes island worship and outreach teams aboard Morning Star (sailing boat).
SCOPE of OG: Over 300 people from 24 countries divided into teams going out to 35 islands to distribute 50,000 bibles.
Hospitality Village (HV)
Offering Christian volunteers full service all-under-one-roof hospitality. Capacity is 500+. It is located in the Mediterranean Exposition Center (the MEC‚) in a big warehouse on Lavriou Street.
This was a huge undertaking to put this operation together. The floor of the entire place is covered in felt rolls ~ 6 feet wide. They used cubical walls to divide partitions two big room for women and big rooms for the men, other rooms for families, special guests, and married couples. Peter stayed in one of the private (with a curtain) rooms.
There is a kitchen area, play area, worship area, medical room, prayer room, men's showers, women's showers, and bathroom. No paper in the toilet. Must have pix ID to enter the building.
There are people here from all over including Australia, South Africa, USA, Great Britain. Young people, retired people. Per Deb. 600 people have been through the MEC HV.
Team from Cumberland Community Church (http://www.cumberlandchurch.org).
Counseling and encouragement: Peter. He ministered to Άνδροζ (Andros).
Τήνοζ (Tinos) Island Leader: Stephen. Team members are Mary, Nancy, Stacy, and Translator John
Μύχονοζ (Mykonos) Island Lead: Phillip. Team members are Cara, Rachel, Lori, Suzanna and translator Stamapis.
The whole island is inhabited from May to August is (high season) Population is about 10,000 (includes many Armenian workers). Anna lives here year-round.
They get 170,000 visitors a year.
They have to paint their houses twice a year.
Per Anna, the store owners used to live above their stores, but now there is now there is too much noise in the night so the owners have a place outside of town. I would think the rent is also very high.
You can find some good deals here, but generally prices are steep. Cara found a star of David 18K gold with diamond for 1200 EU. Yeow.
Per Anna the building must be white, but they can have any color of shudders, but they are mostly shades of blue. The shudders are made to close tight to block all the light for the afternoon siestas. They must have a flat roof and specific type of window. The windows and the patio window opens with hinges on the side or hinges on the bottom so the window leans out and the top is open. There are now similar restrictions on Tinos, but in the past people could build any style of house. Anna says It a mess.‚
Anna said the fresh rain water lake in the middle of the island was complete in 1993. Many homes have wells. Anna well is 40 meters. It rains here from Oct to April.
The captain of the ferry said there are 1250 islands and 54 are inhabited. Anna said there are 24 islands in the Cyclades and they are all inhabited.
On Mykonos we stayed on SW corner of the island. The area is called Πλατύζ Γιαλόζ (Platis Gialos also spelled Platis Yailos in English). Anna place was not available, so we stayed next door for four nights at:
Mikonos Platis Gialos
For five nights we stayed at Anna:
Anna Michelis (ΑΝΝΑ ΜΙΧΕΛΗ)
GR 84600 Mykonos
Tel + Fax (0289) 26.018
Comfortable apartments 50 meters for the beach in quiet surrounding with a sea view‚
There are some skeeters (mosquitoes) here, but I never felt like I had to put on any bug repellent.
It very very very windy. Don't even try wearing a hat if you go out on the deck of the ferry it will blow off. On the island the wind was seldom calm.
People wear bathing suits everywhere during the day on Mykonos. At night, they dress up a little for dinner. Bring a light sweater. One night it was really chilly during dinner.
Mykonos is expensive. Souvenirs are pricey. Buy it in Athens if possible.
Groceries are OK, Anna said she may go into Athens for shop for clothes occasionally but everything else you can get on the island. 1 box of milk or juice 1.70 EU, loaf bread 1.55, swiss cheese 3.80, lunch meat 1.90 for six slices.
Do some research on the Greek language. It really not that difficult! I think I was reading at the first grade level. Here is the Greek alphabet
Α Β Γ Δ Ε Ζ Η Θ Ι Κ Λ Μ Ν Ξ Ο Π Ρ Σ Τ Υ Φ Χ Ψ Ω
α β γ δ ε ζ η θ ι κ λ μ ν ξ ο π ρ σ τ υ φ χ ψ ω
Ά Έ Ή Ί Ό Ύ Ώ
ά έ ή ί ό ώ ύ
Here some good words to know:
You're welcome or please
I do not understand
Athens outreach stats from : http://www.shawncuthill.com
Conversations: 50 +
Items lost: -1 (Paul found all film in England!)
Persecution: 1 slap to the head, 1 kicked bible, 1 call to police
Boxes of literature handed out : 120 +
Literature packs given: 2000 +
Contact info: 10 +
Salvation: 5 + very close and being followed up on by local believers
April 15, 2004 - Atlanta Journal - Orthodox Leader Accepts Apology - Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christian, has accepted an apology from Pop John Paul II for Roman Catholic involvement in the sacking of Constantinople 800 years ago. During a visit to Greece in 2001, John Paul apologized or the attach on the city, today's Istanbul, Turkey which was looted by Catholic Crusader. The apology had long been sough by the Orthodox.
May 1, 2004 Atlanta Journal - Orthodox leader breaks Greek tie - The spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians suspended relation witht he head of Greece's Orthodox Church - a move that could lead to severed ties between the two churches.
Unbelievable. I have barely just started this trip and I can't fight the urge to write. I wonder if I'll be able to fight the urge to eat when we're supposed to be fasting. Writing is definitely an obsession for me, because I have an affliction called hypergraphia. It only affects me on trips. It is the opposite of writer's block. Hypergraphia is the driving compulsion to write and keep writing; the overwhelming urge to write. But, at least it's affliction that I call a hobby that produces something that I can share. I have been getting quite a few responses from the journals and pictures that I have on mytrips.com, so I guess they do help other people out there.
I now know for sure that I am where I am supposed to be right now. I am having absolutely no problem or apprehension about talking to people about religion or politics. Last night I had a lively discussion with Priscilla about politics. Then the conversation with my sister who does not think I should be going for the reasons that I'm going. She did a great job of doing research on the Internet and she sent me an email this morning. Yes the Greek Orthodox Church persecutes people that evangelize for other churches. Recruiting for the Orthodox Church is OK. I wonder if the Greek Orthodox Church does that? I wonder if they have missionaries that go out and convince people to join the Greek Orthodox Church? The members of the Greek Orthodox Annunciation Cathedral of Atlanta sure seemed excited that I was considering the possibility of joining back in 1997. Anyway. I went back to that church a month ago to familiarize myself with their Divine Liturgy again. I remember the 7 minute sermon subject was about evangelism. He said that we have to learn from our Protestant neighbors how to evangelize so more people come.‚ Too cool. So here I am headed to their country to do just that. Not sure how to do that yet. Leave it up to God to put the right words.
Lee drove Nancy, Lori and I to the airport, then he drove my car back to Lori. Cara and Phillip were already at the airport. Stacy arrived. Security was not an issue at all. Very fast. Met Jonathan‚ in the Lufthansa check in line. He headed back to Romania? for another year of teaching with Campus Crusade. We invited him to pray with us in the gate before the plane took off.
I'm hungry again. I got a hamburger on the way to Lori. Anyway, the trip was begun. I'm on the airplane now. Fast boarding took about 10 minutes and we're off at 4 pm. 8.5 hour flight to Frankfurt. Dinner and a movie on a very small screen.
The girl sitting next to me on the plane moved to another seat so now I have a window seat with an empty aisle seat next to me. It so much more comfortable to have more space available to spread out for this flight.
God you are good. Thank you. I don't know why you take care of me like you do. Well, maybe I do. I am here to serve you. That is why I am here. To serve and to share the gospel. Yes, Jesus loves you. Go to church to show that you love him too. Show how you appreciate the little things that he does for you.
Change planes in Frankfurt to fly to Athens, Greece. That flight from Atlanta to Frankfurt had to be longest flight of my life. Babies were crying 3 rows ahead of me the entire time! In the Frankfurt airport I met two men from Turkmenistan by the coin collection bin. I didn't see any US money in the bin so I was going to insert a dollar (1 USD), but I ended up giving it to them in exchange for two coins from their country. I'll add that to my collection.
On the flight to Athens I saw some Greek islands from the airplane. I can't wait to get out there and on one of them. We arrived around 2 pm. Mary and Stephen were at the Athens airport to pick us up. Mary bought McDonalds at the airport.
My after thought here: I remember thinking to that I would rather have some other food in Greece and not something from McDonalds. Well, after being Greece for two weeks, we were in the airport waiting to leave and I was craving McDonalds. It always nice to eat something that you are accustomed to eating.
We were so lucky with the flights and our luggage. Five of us on time at the airport in Atlanta. All of our luggage arrived in Athens. They were really being picky about what you could carry on the plane. I had my suitcase that I used as carry-on many times. 3 weeks in Africa and South African Airline let me carry it on, 2 weeks in Vietnam/Cambodia and I used it as a carry-on for Malaysian Air. It is carry-on size for Delta also, but not Lufthansa! I guess security is a lot tighter for the Olympics. Everything goes through strong x-rays. The extra memory cards for my camera got zapped. I hope they work. They worked fine, but I did not put them in checked luggage on the trip back to Atlanta.
We all packed into a white van for the ride to the Hospitality Village (HV) at the MEC. We got there in the afternoon in time for a late lunch. It was airplane food, which I usually like eating. Pasta with rice. The salad is cabbage shreds. It was delicious, the first time (but not the tenth time‚Â¦.)
I'm dying to wash my face and get horizontal. Siesta time. Yeah right. On the other side of the wall, people a talking, band is practicing, and people jumping on the trampoline.
Oh dear Lord, where have you brought me. Yes, out of my comfort zone. Please help me through this ordeal.
Tonight and tomorrow we meet to plan what were going to do on the islands. On Monday Stephen is going to take us to see the must see sights. I saw the Parthenon in 1979 so it will be interesting to see it again 26 years later. Thanks for arranging that Stephen!
Peter (CCC pastor) has been here since Monday. He gave 5 sermons on Gideon. He said that he wasn't prepared to give the sermon today so was up all night preparing. I wish we were there for his other sermons. He says oh you've already heard it‚ as in, I've seen his sermons at CCC. It different here. There are so many people. I think I heard over 300 people from over 24 countries around the world. They've been here for a week of training for this task and they are heading out tomorrow to the islands. We get ferried to our respective islands on Tuesday.
Everyone else seems to be adapting so well. Many folks have been here for days. The HV is location is a huge warehouse. 9 foot tall walls to divide huge rooms where we sleep. They have covered the floor with felt. Gray felt to walk on, and tan squares for us to sleep and put our stuff in a 6 x 6 foot square. There is one blow up mattress for everyone. I brought my silk sheets from Vietnam. The air conditioning is running and it is very comfortable temperature.
Remember that God will challenge our faith in what is possible. We are joining him where he is at work.
Greeks withstood the Turkish oppression and it remains Christian‚.
Three powers need to be aligned: Prayer, Unity, and Submission to God and one another. We should resolve conflict as soon as possible. Matt 18. Deal with anger and frustration. Do not let the enemy get a foothold. Extend grace and mercy to one another.
Read Judges 6 and 7 about Gideon's preparation and three challenges
· Israel is under national oppression. They are living in caves. God people in hiding.
· Personal insecurities we need to surrender these vs. 11-13. Gideon is the weakest and he is supposed to lead?!?
· Spiritual compromises worshipping false Gods
Lord oppressed them for 7 years because the Israelites were disobedient. Midianites ruled till Israelites were ready to repent of their sins. Then Gideon defeats the Midianites.
Correction and discipline is not necessary punishment. It is how we create a humble heart.
Conviction breeds repentance, not guilt!
Luke 5: 5-7 I'm tired but the Lord said trust me and go out anyway.
Amazing story about the S.Africa team. They had to spend one day in Cairo so they had to get Egypt visas. Their passports were held. They got their Greece visas one hour before the plane left.
Do not drink the tap water on the islands. It OK to brush your teeth with the tap water, just don't drink it. I kilo of water is 1.5 EU in Athens, and 6 EU on Mykonos
Next outreach is called 100 in China.‚ It will take place during the 2008 Olympics.
Tues, Wed Thurs: 3 days prayer and fasting
Fri, Sat, and Sun: 3 days outreach evangelism
Mon, Tues, Wed: 3 days literature distribution.
Did I hear the correctly? They want us to fast for the first three days that we're on the island? Yeow.
Tonight at evening worship we will commission the teams to go out. Let the Holy Spirit come in and energize us!
Pray tonight for release of sin, how god will guide us on the fast, and ask Lord where do you want me?‚
During the evening meeting each team took turns standing in front of the group and the everyone shouted A sword for the Lord and Gideon‚ (Judges 7:20) It was really a huge rush. I've never ever been involved in something like as this. We are a supporting family that I am so blessed to be a part of.
Breakfast from 6 am to 8:30 today. Corn flakes, Cocoa puffs, and bread, coffee, tea.
This is a travel day for almost all the teams going out to the islands, but not for us. We get one afternoon in Athens during our entire trip here.
Peter is going on the Morningstar today. It a sailboat that HM uses to access and minister to the islands. They're supposed to deliver him on Andros tomorrow.
9 am devotion for our team, then leave by 10-ish for sightseeing. We took the bus and the train to the Acropolis. Great weather. Not too hot, strong breeze.
Tickets were 12 EU. You had to leave your bags at the bottom of the hill. I carried water and my camera.
Took a pix of The temple of Athena Nike. (Is that the Just Do It‚ goddess?) There is lots of scaffolding in and around it.
From what I read on the signs, it looks like they are correcting previous restoration attempts on the Parthenon. Written on the sign:
Parthenon was first restored 1923-1930 on the 4th and 11th columns. The purpose of the current restoration in process since 2000 is to correct the inadequacies of the previous intervention‚.
Parthenon West Frieze picture caption:
damage repair from unsuccessful conservation interventions‚
Written on another sign:
Will restore it to its appearance it had before the explosion of 1687 and the fire of the 3rd AD.
Status from the pediment of the archaic temple of Athena which was erected by the sons of peisistratos about 520 BC. Subject was the gigantomachy Battle of Gods against the giants. Athena is in the middle. Others are giants.
Caption for picture of statue looking up - AD 410-530 Palace of the Giants
Lunch around 3 pm. We ordered 6 dishes food. Very very good.
I brought a couple of Atlanta Olympic pins with me to Athens. I traded a couple of the pins, but no one here wanted the Atlanta 100-year centennial Olympic pins (go figure). I saw a three people with lots of pins standing in the Plaka. I tried to trade pins with them and their approach was let us give you a pin‚. It was The Jesus Pin‚ but before they give it to you, they tell you The Story. They were Sports Chaplains‚. They ask you to tell the story back to them before you can have their pretty pin for Jesus. I showed their pin to our group, then Cara wanted one. Our whole group joined them and we did a group prayer. They are from:
Action Ministries International
PO Box 587 West Point, Georgia, USA 31833
Carrying the WORD to the World‚
A lady from the mime group walked over and asked us to pray for them also. That presentation gathered quite a crowd.
Another truly cool thing happened right there in the Plaka after the mime group finished. There was a group with guitars singing. I recognized the song This is air I breathe‚Â¦ you're holy presence, living, in me‚ They were from Brazil and they were singing in Portuguese. We joined them, only we were singing in English.
What a day. We're still recovering from jet lag. On our train ride back, someone accidentally rested against the train door button so the train wasn't going anywhere. Oops.
10:55 pm meeting.
At 9 pm on Friday, every team on every island will do 10-15 minutes of proclamation evangelism - a testimony with the gospel message. Be firm, show no fear. If someone in the crowd makes a fuss, a team member should talk to them on the side so you can continue the program.
We can't use a microphone, block any traffic, cause a riot or disturb the peace. Make sure to follow the plan in the guide book if a situation‚ arises.
We can't evangelize to anyone under 18.
During the first 3 days on the island every team on every island should find the highest point on the island and find prayer places in each direction.
Pray about fasting. You can fast from food, fast from breakfast, fast with your mouth. God will tell you how. We cannot fast from water.
During outreach days, get contact information from as many people on the island as possible.
Peter may come to Mykonos on Sunday night so all our CCC team can be together.
For last 3 days of literature distribution There is a Greek New Testament, and other tracts for youth, orthodox, non-believers. We have a lot to distribute, so try no to talk to people, just leave the packet and go. There are 100 lit packs per person per day. We have 5 people on our team so that is that 1500 packets. Yeow.
Meeting till way past midnight. I was so so tired.
Oh God. I think I felt you touch me this morning. I was really having a tough time last night. A lot of what has been going on hit me and it knocked me down. I really don't feel cut out for this sometimes. I felt a huge scourge of discomfort. But you restored me this morning so I can keep going. Thank you.
5:30 am departure from the Hospitality Village. Our teams headed out to Tinos and Mykonos today. Maybe got a couple hours of sleep. No seats in the van so we sat on our luggage. Jonathan drove us to a place above the docks to pray and see the sun come up.
The ferry stopped at Andros first. The wind was so strong! Don't even think about wearing a hat because it will blow away. We looked for the Morningstar at the dock. They were supposed to be dropping Peter off at Andros yesterday (Monday). They didn't make it because the wind was so strong. They had to stop somewhere else for the night. We didn't see the sailboat, but it turns out that they were in the bay and we missed them. They were in the harbor preparing to come into port.
This ferry ride really helped us get to know each other. Almost everyone shared their testimony. They went from 20 minutes to almost an hour, so we ran out of time. It amazing to hear how experiences that other people have had affect each person.
Anna was waiting for us at the Mykonos dock to pick us up. She has a tall van so 7 of us (5 on team, Anna and Stephen) and luggage squeezed in the van for the ride. On our way to her van we were bombarded with signs of people advertising rooms for rent.
Anna drove us ~ 15 minutes to Platis Gialos. It an area on the SW side of the island. We stayed in Manos Studios (beside her place) until Saturday when we move to her place.
Stephen and Phillip ventured off to get a moped. We'll get a car on Thursday. Stephen was here last year so he showed Phillip around the island.
Tim arrived around midnight. He is the Hellenic Ministries person in charge of the Cyclades islands. His is also the photographer. His web site is www.netrogers.com. The gas tank on Phillips moped was almost empty so Phillip could not escort Tim from the dock. Tim ended up driving over almost the entire island to find us in Platis Gialos. None of the roads, street, or paths has names on this island so you have to follow the signs.
Tim filled us in on some of the training that we missed at the HV in Athens.
There are different ideas about the same beginning, different expressions of worship, different traditions and beliefs. It really more about the relationship. We should encourage them to read the bible, live for God and pray to God.
I am slowly finding out and realizing why I am here in Greece right now. I know it partly because of the 10 weeks of classes I took with John to learn about the Greek Orthodox Church. In 1997 he told me you're not supposed to enjoy going to church‚. That did not make sense to me, so I started searching (and I found) other churches that I love attending. I guess you really have to understand why you're going to church so you can enjoy it.
Another reason that I'm here in Greece is because of that Windjammer trip in1999. Mykonos reminds me of St. Barts and St. Maarten in the Caribbean. The road, beaches, and the azure water are similar. Anyway, that dance in the dark is all in the past. Now I'm offering my service in thanks for every good thing that God has done for me. It has been wonderful getting to know God better and trying to understand how he moves in my life.
I wonder what would happen if someone like me now approached someone like me in 1996. What would that be like? I would listen and be gracious, then keep on doing what I was doing. All I can hope for here and now is to mention something to someone that will make them stop for a second and think. They will keep going, but maybe they will remember something about what they heard. It sure took me awhile to realize it. So God I am right here, right now for you.
Thank you for this first day of prayer and preparation.
1:30 am. Sleep finally!
Up around 8. 9 am devotion on the beach. Tim joined us and he took some pictures He
10:15 ferry to Delos.
The captain of the ferry said there are 1250 islands and 54 are inhabited. He was interesting to talk to. He was married for 9 years and he been single now for 10. He still looking for a woman. Offered us some Ouzo. No thanks. He said that he did not run the ferry yesterday because of the high winds. Pray for safe transportation and wife for him.
A lot of people here know about Greek mythology. When we told Anna about visiting Delos, she told us the story about Zeus and Leto. She said Zeus could not be there for the birth of their children, Apollo and Artemis so Delos came out of the ocean to be there when she gave birth. She said when Delos was inhabited, Mykonos was their burial ground. A burial jar was found on Anna property and it is displayed in the museum here on Mykonos.
On the bus back to Platis Gialos, Bruno told me about Leto, mother of Apollo and Artemis. Then he started rambling on about more Gods. I casually mentioned that really there is only one true God and his mother name is Mary.
Here a little historical info on this island of Delos:
Delos was the most important Panhellenic sanctuary, and, according to mythology, the birth-place of Apollo and Artemis.
The first signs of habitation on the island date from the 3rd millennium B.C., and important remains of the Mycenaean period have been uncovered in the area of the sanctuary. In the 7th century B.C. Delos was already a known Ionic centre because of its religious importance as the birth-place of Apollo.
Athenian influence was initiated on the sanctuary with the first purification of Delos by Peisistratos in 540 B.C. but it gradually developed into a proper domination lasting - with short intervals - until the end of the 4th century B.C., when Delos was finally declared free and independent (314 B.C.).
The independence of the island lasted until 166 B.C. when the Romans gave it over to the Athenians.
For more information, go to Hellenic Culture web site http://www.culture.gr Delos information was found at http://www.culture.gr/2/21/211/21121a/e211ua06.html
Zeus was the supreme ruler of Mount Olympus and of the Pantheon of gods who resided there. Being the supreme ruler he upheld law, justice and morals, and this made him the spiritual leader of both gods and men. Zeus was a celestial god, and originally worshiped as a weather god by the Greek tribes. These people came southward from the Balkans circa 2100 BCE. He has always been associated as being a weather god, as his main attribute is the thunderbolt, he controlled thunder, lightning and rain. Theocritus wrote circa 265 BCE: "sometimes Zeus is clear, sometimes he rains". He is also known to have caused thunderstorms. In Homer's epic poem the Iliad he sent thunderstorms against his enemies. The name Zeus is related to the Greek word dios, meaning "bright". His other attributes as well as lightning were the scepter, the eagle and his aegis (this was the goat-skin of Amaltheia).
Zeus had many offspring; his wife Hera bore him Ares, Hephaestus, Hebe and Eileithyia, but Zeus had numerous liaisons with both goddesses and mortals. He either raped them, or used devious means to seduce the unsuspecting maidens. His union with Leto (meaning the hidden one) brought forth the twins Apollo and Artemis. Once again Hera showed her jealousy by forcing Leto to roam the earth in search of a place to give birth, as Hera had stopped her from gaining shelter on terra-firma or at sea. The only place she could go was to the isle of Delos in the middle of the Aegean, the reason being that Delos was, as legend states, a floating island.
Study on Delos.
Some things are non-negotiable - Gen 1:1, John 1:1, Math 4:4, John 6:35, Deu 8:3.
If you brag about something good that you did, that is your only reward. If you keep it to yourself, your reward is in heaven.
Ten Excuses not to choose God.
1. I am already a Christian or I don't need a savior!
2. Not today. Maybe later.
3. It too late for me.
4. I already tried that and it didn't work.
5. There are too many mysteries and too many things that I don't understand.
6. God loves everyone so I don't need to be saved. I'm a good person
7. There are too many hypocrites in the church
8. Costs too much
9. I can't leave my old friends/traditions
10. I will be persecuted, my friends will make fun of me.
What do you believe? Are you sure? Do you know about everlasting life and a personal relationship with God?
I am so glad that we have these first 3 days to prepare our hearts and minds. I was sure needing an answer to the question: God how do I approach these people? What do you expect of me?
Nobody is allowed to live on Delos. If you miss the last ferry, like we almost did, the police come to get you. (I think Anna said that but I'm not sure). Well, we did miss our ferry back to Platis Gialos. We thought it was 3:15, but it left at 2:15. Thank God we missed it. Cara talked to someone that was on that ride It took us about an hour to get Delos, but the ride back to Mykonos was almost three hours. Awful high wind and waves. Everyone got wet, people were screaming and many were ill. (It doesn't hurt to take Dramamine just in case.)
We missed our return ferry, and we barely made it on the last ferry. That ferry went to Mykonos town, not to Platis Gialos where we were staying so we had to take the bus home. Well,,,, omg omg, that really turned into a blessing. We were waiting at the bus stop and I noticed a familiar looking man and woman. They confirmed that they were on the ferry to Delos this morning.
We started talking. Bruno‚ is a painter. He walked me up the street to see his paintings in a restaurant I took a picture of him beside his works of art. He was riding the same bus to Platis Gialos. He gave me his address so I can mail him the pictures to him. We got off the bus at the end of the line. We all walked down the beach to head back to the apartment. We stopped to see his painting on the wall of the restaurant. It was still work in process. What a great contact in the restaurant now. These first three days it supposed to be all about building relationships. That a start.
This team is really making an impression on me. They started the fast yesterday. I was too scared to do it. I really do get a bad headache if I don't eat. So Phillip went to the grocery store yesterday. He got water for them and fruit, bread, and peanut butter for me. On Monday, I ate a sandwich on the ferry, (secretly because they were fasting) and I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (PBJS) for dinner.
This morning I made another PBJS and put it in my pack that I took to Delos. We had an hour devotion, then we split up to see the ruins. That is when I had planned to eat my PBJS. I have been so scared to try fasting. We've been talking about it so much. Well, I finally felt like it was right time for me to put my trust in the Lord to do it also. I did not eat my sandwich I haven't eaten anything all day and I'm fine! I think I should feel hungry, but I don't. I'm trusting God with this one. This is their second day of not eating and they are fine. I have never experienced being around and also being an integral part of a group like this.
Great trip so far. It so much more different other trips. For one, because it is a mission trip. The primary focus is not to drink and party. But this is still different from Haiti and Dominican Republic. Every mission trip is a unique experience because you really do have to adapt the activities to the place. We have used the first days of this trip to figure that out. Our approach here on Mykonos may not be appropriate for any other island given the situation and the island and habitants. It only the beginning.
11 am devotion
Rachel went over Peter message that we missed during training at HV. Judges 7 the story of Gideon.
Don't set limitations on our expectations! We have already far exceeded what we expected!
Have a humble, brave and obedient heart.
Remember, that there is no I‚ in team. Avoid I‚ thoughts and statements.
Stay with someone on the team and don't venture off alone.
Never doubt in the dark what you have seen in the light.
Give the reason for your faith with gentleness.
We talked about the revelation that we experienced/learned by missing the boat - We have a whole new perspective on things that don''t turn out the way we wanted or expected them to turn out. Oh well, we missed the boat‚. What a blessing that was.
The car arrived! They delivered it to our apartment. It is a tiny little thing! They said we would get a bigger car tomorrow. We never got that bigger car‚Â¦ Our car is a Matiz Daewoo. Made in Korea I think. It a yellow mustard gold color We affectionately refer to as Gray Poupon‚ after the gourmet mustard.
Our plan today:
Return the moped
Drive around the island and stop to pray at the beaches.
Grocery store and try to get back by 7 when Stamapis (our translator) arrives.
To return the moped, Phillip drove the moped and Rachel followed in the car.
Phillip successfully convinced Cara to ride on the moped. She was very worried/scared/apprehensive but he promised to go slow. I would be very worried also, I remember hearing that same promise each time that I rode on the motorcycle last year. Going 70 mph in a 35 zone, passing a car on the right, and upsetting other drivers. Anyway‚Â¦if you trust your driver, it fine. Cara trusted Phillip, and she said that she really enjoyed the ride!
Rachel did a great job driving the car, and she had a couple very intense situations. Lori is in the front and I am in the back seat. That was a really difficult first hill experience. The road is very steep and very narrow and it turns to the right AND there is a stop sign at the top because it intersects with one of the main roads on the island. There was traffic on the main road so Rachel had to stop at the stop sign on the steep hill. There was a car behind us. We were spinning tires trying to get traction and the engine barely had enough power to get us up and out of there. She did good.
I'm having quite a time of it trying to keep calm. This is really really difficult for me, so it got to be even more difficult for Rachel. Talk about a tense stomach. I have had no food in my stomach since 8 am yesterday. This is my second day of fasting, their third day. Totally amazing. I have only had water and some juice. No headache. God is taking car of all of us. I can't wait to start eating this food, but I'm really OK for now.
We followed Phillip on the moped to the gas station, and now we are now stopped near the bus stop on Platis Gialos. It appears as if there is organized pandemonium everywhere. There is no room to drive or park with buses cars and mopeds running all over the place. We found a place put the car while we waiting for Phillip to return the moped. Then he'll walk back to where we are waiting and drive us out of this mess.
OK, so Phillip is driving now. My stomach is still tense. I need to relax. 5 of us in this teeny coffin of a car. There appears to be absolutely no traffic rules. Mopeds have priority in the intersection?, bigger vehicles have priority over smaller ones? I can't tell. At least Phillip appears in his element. He liking this little car and zipping around these turns. We tried to find the highest point on the island. Instead we found:
Taking pictures is forbidden.
The sign was written in English, German, Italian, and Spanish. There was picture of a flag adjacent to each translation. The British flag (not USA flag) was beside the English version.
Well, we did not see the sign. The gate was open and kept driving up the road. We came upon a military base with troops in uniform holding big guns. We got the message to turn around. The jeep escorted us down off the property. It was our first contact with officials.
That happened at Prof Ilian Anomeritis. We parked outside the (now closed and guarded) gate. We prayed in all directions for about 20 minutes. What a dry place, it looks like a desert island, but there are beautiful splashes of color with the bougainvillea and geraniums(?).
Next destination is the town of Lia. We parked at Lia beach. We walked through the opening in the high bamboo fence and found an unused umbrella in the back without any chairs. Five of us prayed right there sitting on the sand. What a site that must have been. People definitely noticed us. Sure it felt a little awkward and people were looking at us. But that is exactly what we wanted. I hope it raised some questions. I hope they wonder. I wonder what they wondered about . We think that what we need to do.
We changed positions in the car and the second beach that we went to was Kalo Livadi. A nice lady named Gloria‚ runs the chairs here. She seemed to approve of what we were doing. Cool.
The third beach was on the North side of the island, Ftelia Beach. No one comes to this beach! No people, and lots of garbage. The wind is very strong here. There are a couple windsurfers out there taking advantage of the wind. Karos village across from the beach. It looks like the people only go to the south side beaches.
This seems like a small island. I look at the map and I see where we need to go, but more often than not we have already passed the place..
We visited and prayed at a high place and 3 beaches from noon to 6 pm. Now we are stopped at the supermarket to get dinner which is Gatoraid today since we are fasting.
About fasting. It 6 pm on my second day. It their third day. On the first day I was totally astonished and amazed that they could have so much trust in god to go without food. If you are in the right frame of mind and if you are doing it for the right reasons, that is how you do it. I wanted what they had. I wanted to trust like that. I did not hear a prompting to do it on Delos. I just wanted to try it and see if it would be OK. So Wednesday afternoon I carried that peanut butter sandwich all day. Wed night I put it beside my bed. Thursday morning I drank coffee, took a vitamin pill. Noon I drank some juice and had Gatoraid for dinner. I truly don't even feel hungry. Yesterday I did have to stop and pray a couple times. I asked God not let me have headache. He complied. The first day when I ate and they didn't I was not lying what I said that I have hypoglycemia. I get a headache so fast when I don't eat. I eat a little constantly throughout the day. This is an amazing plan. Everyone on every team on every island was supposed to ask God if they were supposed to fast and how to fast the first three days. It a great plan so far.
They've been in the grocery for 35 minutes buying food for tomorrow when we will eat. None of them has had any food for 3 days. But they said they do not feel hungry at all. Truly amazing.
Wow there something you don't see every day and I'd be fine to never see it again. A somewhat larger tanned man on a large motorcycle (not a moped) in a (very) small bathing suit. Yeow.
Interpreter Stamapis arrived around
7 9 pm (Greek
time). We are so fortunate to have him as part of our team till
The interpreter who was supposed to go to Tinos cancelled. We were still a little concerned that Tinos did not have an interpreter, but Stamapis felt called to Mykonos not Tinos. What a blessing that prayer was answered. John‚ was already on Tinos. He tried to get a team together from his home church, but he ended up coming alone to visit his family on Tinos. Our Tinos team was on the highest part of the island praying in all directions and Stephen phone rang. It was John offering his service. He was ready and willing to be the interpreter for that team. He has been coming to Tinos for 20 years to visit relatives and evangelize. He called HM, and they gave him Stephen cell number. What a miracle that worked out.
Cara had an incredible talk with Anna tonight. She wants at least 4 Greek bibles. Cara said you can see it in her face how happy she is to see us, but she was also asking about Lee and Cyrl. Anna was so sad when Cara tried to explain that they couldn't come this year. Anna was a major Divine appointment last year and the seed has grown.
9:45 pm devotion.
This one had its moments‚. We were so tired. We didn't get to do our siesta. But at least we're growing as one, as a team.
We talked about the 3 day fast. This is the first time that Phillip, Cara, and I have fasted. We all agreed that 3-3-3 is such a beautiful structure. God slowed us Americans downs to prepare for this culture.
We are excited when our schedule changes because we now know that it is God plan that we need to follow, not ours.
Stamapis shared his testimony. What a story it was! He is Greek and he was Orthodox. He been a Christian 10 years? He also shared some general things that his has learned and observed in the Greek Orthodox Church. We found 1 John 1: 7-9. That says it all.
On Delos two days ago, Phillip gave us ten responses that we might get with up to 5 verses to answer each response. Since we start our 3 days of outreach tomorrow, we talked about some of them before we adjourned for the night.
Tomorrow we can eat! Asleep by midnight. That may be first.
Ended the fast today. Yeah, we finally get to eat delicious Greek food!
Jonathan really did put together a plan that works. We needed those three days to prepare, however we still needed to plan what, and who, is going to do the 9 pm proclamation tonight! This was the first of three days of outreach.
9:30 Devotion on the beach.
Rachel went over the last message from Peter. Theme is Together we will be one, in one mind.‚ not an easy undertaking when all of us are individuals with our own thoughts and plans and agendas!
Isaiah 24:15 Therefore in the east give glory to the LORD; exalt the name of the LORD , the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea.
We can distribute the Olympic tracts and the multi-lingual book of verses, but not the bible yet. We need to gather contact information for HM to follow up.
We tried to figure out what we were going to do for tonight proclamation. We had the idea of the bridge drawing in the sand. I showed Stamapis what we were thinking of doing. Everyone had different ideas and we appeared very disorganized.
It finally felt right for me step up with what I had been practicing. It started last year when I bought the One Verse Method‚ book to explain the gospel using John 3:16 and this bridge diagram. I have done it a couple times. Once on a napkin in IHOP, and once for a co-worker. Anyway, I was tossing and turning last night with thoughts about how to adapt and present the story in the sand. When I woke up, I kept my ear plugs in and I started writing the script. I would have been perfectly happy if someone else volunteered to do the presentation, but that wasn't happening. So, I went through the first part of what I had written that morning. The days of prayer and fasting made more of a believer out of me, so I felt prepared to try it. Since I felt that God chose, I was fine with being the presenter.
When we got back to the room I asked Phillip if I could stay behind and write my script (it was Lori suggestion). Phillip was a little concerned about how we were going to fit 6 people in that teeny car. We did not get the bigger car after all. Since I asked to stay behind to prepare, that solved that problem.
So I stayed in the room this afternoon and wrote (and tried to memorize) the story from beginning to end. It had to be short sentences that could be translated and it had to follow the picture in the sand. It was the gospel with some of my (adapted) testimony throughout the story. I changed it to fit the place and the audience and the story. I did a sketch of the diagram that I needed in the sand. I finished the second rehearsal when they came home around 3.
At the debriefing, they shared some wonderful conversations with people. Cara gave a woman the multi-lingual book of verses. The woman had genuine tears in her eyes when she saw the gift. When you get that kind of reaction, then you know that you are in the right place. She was totally overjoyed. She insisted on giving Cara a gift of a beautiful embroidered decoration. If my sister could just see that, she would understand more about why I'm here. Some people are so hungry for the word.
Oh, the literature packets that we are supposed to distribute the last three days arrived today. They have to transport 82 boxes from warehouse on Mykonos to our apt. I think it took 3 trips to get those boxes in that teeny car.
Rachel went over to ask Anna if there was room to store the boxes in the apt where we would be tomorrow night. She ended up staying a long time and having an incredible talk with Anna. Yes, Anna had accepted Jesus Christ. Rachel was beaming with excitement when she got back to the room. We definitely had a contact on this island. Very cool. What a great trip.
Friday night outreach.
We were there by 8 pm. At the sand beach in front of the restaurants in one of busiest places in Mykonos town. The map label is Acti Kambani. It was directly in front of the APOLLON restaurant in the middle of the most crowed walkway on the island.
The rest of the team put on rubber gloves and started picking up the garbage around the area where we were going to draw the diagram. That sure attracted attention. It did look odd. When people stopped to ask, we tried to start up a conversation with them and give them a tract. The waiter (owner?) from the restaurant sure wanted to know what we were doing. We explained that we were going to tell a story here at 9 pm. He was fine with that. He even set up some more tables on the walkway so people sitting at these tables might be able to hear our story‚. Lori did great job outlining the drawing in the sand. It was about 15 feet square. A boy named Nikko helped us dig out the lines in the sand so people could read WORLD‚ DEATH‚ SIN‚ GOD‚ Life‚ (not enough room to write eternal‚), and Heaven‚.
As they were drawing the diagram, I was rehearsing my story and I wrote in my journal
I am not scared because I am prepared. I know what to say. If there is point where I stumble and I don't know what to say, I am confident that He will give me the words.
I really was not nervous. I knew God was guiding me because under any other circumstances, I definitely would NOT be the one doing this! So there I was. Stamapis arrived at 8:55 and at we started right at 9 pm.
Phillip held up the bamboo cross. I told my story and Stamapis translated to the crowd. The story followed from one step of the sand diagram to the next step. As people stopped to listen I would repeat things. It doesn't hurt to say something a couple times, then someone might remember it. Or they would leave when they realized what was being said. When Phillip laid the cross down on the diagram I walked across.
A few people stayed to hear the whole story. I noticed a young man that was intently listening to every word that we said. A couple holding hands also stopped to listen. It was very dark so I was glad that I had memorized most of it. It was a totally amazing experience. At the end, I was shouting out John 3:16. As I shouted it, I ran over to each word in the diagram in the sand. Too cool. I'm guessing the proclamation took about 20 minutes. I have to say that it was rush.
Rom 10:17-18 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did: "Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.‚
Oh yeah, we found 10 EU on the ground earlier today! We used that money to buy the robber gloves and the sand shovels and bucket.
After the show, we ate at the Apollon after the show. I had some really good Moussaka.
11 am devotion. The subject arose from the questions that Stamapis was asking last night. Phillip did a great job researching the passages so we could discuss the issue. It was a little side track from our mission, but it seemed like something we should look at given the island, the people that we are witnessing to, and the fact that four (out of six) on our team are single. Yes, there is a lot of sexual immortality, I mean immorality here.
Phillip explained that to get an answer to any question you need to go to the bible, ask the Holy Spirit, and discuss it with other mature believers. The bible has one theme. If we find a contradiction, it not the bible, it us.
So the plan today is to pack up our stuff and move to Anna, then to drive to a beach for the outreach this afternoon. OK.
We dragged our suitcases about 20 yards to Anna Seaview Apts. Her place is an amazing feat of engineering marvels. We had our devotion on the top level about 20 steps up and around some of her buildings. Her chapel was up higher - more steps up and around. She invited us up to see it. It a small building. Inside a small screen to separate priest area. It about 10x12 feet inside. Lots of icons, her parent picture.
The group that came last year found‚ Anna. Last year Stephen, Rachel, Lee, April, and Cyrl were here. They were 20 minutes from Mykonos on the ferry and Cyrl cell phone rings. They were planning to camp because they were unsuccessful at finding a place to stay. Anyway the travel agent on Mykonos found the rooms at Annas and phoned Cyrl.
Anna was so glad to have us stay here this year. We are so quiet compared to the 7 loud Italians who slept all day, partied all night and only ate macaroni.
After the move, we ventured out to the party beach on the island. Put on the sunscreen, grab the Frisbee and were off. Stamapis has never thrown a Frisbee before! Only five of us can fit in the car, so Stamapis took the ferry to Paradise beach.
There must be a hundred mopeds parked near the entrance to this beach. A tall bamboo wall separates the beach from the parking area and the rest of the world. Most other beaches had this bamboo wall also. Maybe so the (liberal) folks on the beach could have some measure of privacy ?!?. I don't know. I'm just guessing. Our beach at Platis Gialos did not have this wall so you could sit in the restaurants and look out to the water. Of course you had to look around the dense out outcropping of umbrellas. There are two chairs under each umbrella.
On Paradise, the cost of the umbrella and 2 chairs is 7 EU. We had to get two setups because we had 6 people. So it about 4 o'clock and I'm sitting here on the beach.
God be with Phillip and Rachel at the bar and Stamapis, Lori and Cara in the water. Please put them with the right people to talk to about you.
This is so wild here. So many beautiful people. I need to relax. What am I doing here? A beer would help. I'll try God instead.
So God provided more than one Divine appointment here. Phillip came running back to the chairs and tells us to listen to the lyrics of the song that is being pumped thru the booming speakers.
Are you feeling down? I've got something for you!
Knock and the will be opened, Seek and you shall find. It is in the word, go find it‚ Cara knows more of the words here. It was repeated about five times in the song.
Too cool. They talked to the Disc Jockey (DJ) about the song. The DJ had absolutely no idea what he was talking about when they repeated the lyrics. They found out that he is Christian, but he swore that he did not play a song with those lyrics. He wants to receive info from HM.
Phillip and Rachel also had a nice experience and conversation with the bartender (his name can be translated to the gospel‚ Angelian maybe?). He was at first disgruntled with the books Phillip and Rachel were reading a discussing (the multi-lingual bibles).
Where did you get those books? Is someone passing them out?‚
No, we got these in Athens‚
Bartender was very gruff. His sister however showed some interest and they gave her a book.
Stamapis gave a tract to the group under the umbrella beside us. They found the last page where it explains God and Jesus Christ. It definitely generated some discussion within their group. That all we ask at this point.
There are some really crazy things going on at this beach. The music is getting louder and I would say there is about 50 (scantily clad) people dancing on the tables being lead by person who I don't need to describe because we will never forget that scene. People in Europe are definitely more liberal. They take care of their bodies and they are not shy about showing them off. I only saw one person that I wish I hadn't seen. No inhibitions and they are not self conscious. Seems like a free life. I pray there are bright beacons of light shining throughout this entire area!
For future reference beach evangelism works but you can't plan it. Just go, and keep in mind why you are there and let the Lord guide you. Go during the afternoon to early evening.
Tonight we ate at a restaurant along Platis Gialos beach. (It was not Bruno place) During the weekdays, a lot of people were around this area, but not this night. Maybe they go to Mykonos town on the weekends. It was definitely a restaurant for tourists, not a place where locals hang out. My food OK. A def mute man came by our table selling cigarette lighters. Rachel bought one and she gave him a book. He knew what the book was and he was overcome with joy. He gestured with his hand up to God, then he held his heart. We communicated to enough to find out that he is a believer. He shook all our hands. He wrote his name in my book:
ΧΡΗΕΤΟΣ which is Christos‚ in English.
We were all so tired, except for Rachel. Rachel is the pilot is our group (for getting the car up that hill). She is also the bold one. She grabbed some tracts and she found the owner to the restaurant and hotel. The pamphlet said Kosomoplaz‚ Rachel definitely feels called to venture out do the work of the Lord. There such an excitement that washes over her when she sharing an experience. Like when she came back from talking to Anna. She found out that Anna had given her heart to God. His glory fills her up and she can't keep it all inside. It is exciting and encouraging to have, hear about and share these experiences.
Lori has such a calm demeanor. Her gift is to provide the exact type of encouragement in the right way when someone on the team needs it. I was freaking out in the car the first time. She kept telling me to write because that is my therapy and it calms me down. Cara was freaking out on the high road to the military base and Lori held her and covered her eyes. Lori is also our CFO who keeps track of all our team finances and pays for dinner every night. She appears very well suited for that job. Everybody has different talents. Thank God for that.
Cara is our tract queen. The training from her Jews for Jesus experience prepared her for how to approach people, what to say and how to get them to receive the information. As we were leaving Paradise beach, she got rid of, I mean, she distributed, and bunch of the Olympic tracts. Cara is so full of giggles.
Phillip is our illustrious President and most capable leader. I think he had the most duties and the least amount of sleep, but he never once lost his cool. Stamapis is Vice President of Communications, and I am the scribe. I do have a writing obsession on my trips. It my nature and a common practice on all my adventures to record the events.
After dinner, on our way back to the apt, we walked along the boardwalk on the beach. We stopped at the restaurant where Bruno was doing his painting. I walked in and Bruno jumped up to give me a kiss on the cheek. He was sitting there with the men who do the live music. He wanted us to come in and drink ouzo. No thanks on the ouzo. He had a few himself! We told him that we would definitely come back for dinner one night next week.
11 am devotion. Devotion this morning was in the best place so far. At the top level of Anna place.
We talked about how God does things versus how we do things. We have to remember that we are not in control.
Don't worry about the reason why. If you are called, then Nike (just do it).
There is a right way and there is a righter way. Not a right way and wrong way.
You can rebound after disobeying if your heart is in the right place. God knows our heart.
I know your flesh is a little uncomfortable, but you stay anyway.
When something goes a different way that we didn't expect, (When something goes wrong) we really just missed the boat‚. God had another plan in mind.
We are so blessed to have our CCC community groups to study the word, hear the word, and get our questions answered. There are so many questions.
The Tinos team arrived around noon. They brought their car over on the ferry and Stephen knew where we were staying so they just showed up. Unfortunately, Peter did not make it to Mykonos.
Anna had another room for Stacy, Nancy, Stephan and Mary and Deb. Deb is from Great Britain she is with for HM and she on the Operation Gideon staff. She said she been volunteering for 2 years to help get this operation set up. She wanted the opportunity to experience everything that been planning so she came to Tinos.
Stacy told us that it is pretty primitive on Tinos. There are no shelves, so all their food is on the floor. Yeow. Since they have been in the wilderness‚ (compared to where we are staying), we'll do some beach time and evangelizing, then early evening go to town to distribute the rest of the Olympic tracts, then go to the Thai restaurant.
We had a frappe and some lunch in the Bonatsa restaurant on the Platis Gialos beach. Since we ate there, we could use a couple umbrellas in front of the restaurant for free.
Sitting here on the beach on a Sunday afternoon. God is good. He has given us this beautiful creation or rather he has made this creation and we felt called to witness here. How wonderful is our Lord. How blesses are we to have the honor and privilege to do this.
I wonder if they ever wash these beach chairs. It does not rain here in the summer so they don't get rinsed off. It a good idea to always put something on the chair before you lay down on it. 30 EU for a full body massage on the beach! No thank you.
The ocean water is so clear at the beaches here. I swam out about 70 yards. It was about 30 feet deep and I could still see the bottom. Very beautiful.
Rachel is so bold. She started talking to Cristos‚ on the beach. They went up to the restaurant where we ate lunch. She told us later that she was stuck there in a very uncomfortable situation. The man was talking to someone else and she was just standing there. She started talking to the woman sitting at the table where she was standing. The woman is Anna cousin! She has a hotel on the other side of the island. Christos has two daughters in California. Rachel said we should to pray for the nephew wife for her to keep witnessing to the family.
Good news, the Tinos team got a translator! The translator that OG had arranged for them had to cancel, but they met John‚ on the island. He is from Philadelphia and he has relatives on Tinos. He been coming to Tinos for 20 years. He has been with the Tinos team for the last three days translating and witnessing with the team. Such a blessing / coincidence that they met him. A true believer.
On Stephen's mind: Romans 10:9 - That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
On Stephen back (printed on his t-shirt): is Acts 16:30, 31
Πεά ξειζ 16:30, 31
ΤΙ ΠΡΕΠΕΙΝΑ ΚΑΝΩ; >><< ΠΙΣΤΕΥΕ ΣΤΟΝΚΥΡΙΟ ΙΗΣΟΥ ΧΡΙΕΤΟ ΚΑΙ ΘΑ ΣΩΘΕΙΣ>>
Jesus Christ in Greek is ΙΗΣΟΟΥΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ
Both teams meet together to talk about the day and what we are doing tonight. This is our last night to outreach so we need to distribute the rest of the Olympic tracts and the multi-lingual books in Mykonos town. Tomorrow we have to start passing out the 1500 literature packets.
We talked about maybe try to do the toilet paper wrapping show tonight. We would be shouting out things that keep us in bondage: Divorce, Cheating, Lying, Stealing, Anger, Fear, Greed, Rejection, Abuse, Addition alcohol, Drugs, Pain, Helplessness, Confusion, Broken relationships, Unworthiness, Debt
Our discussion got put on hold because Vasily (or Vassilis?, anyway Anna husband) made a special effort to approach our group and thank us for the bibles. He told us that our work is making an impact. He can see these 80+ boxes of stuff that we are going to hand out. Yes. That will make an impact. Vasily was full of gems of wisdom:
He said This is wise book, the bible‚ . Bible‚ is an ancient Greek word that means book‚
This land belongs to Anna grandfather. Some ashes stored in the walls.
Vasily is 73 years old. Husband of wife sister James‚ is very ill. He said I admire your effort to bring a message to the world.‚
Satan‚ is a Jewish word that means evil‚.
Cara means joy‚ and Phillip means men who like horses (cowboys?)
There are no negative meaning for any ancient Greek words.
Vasily spoke with us a long time (over an hour) so we got in Mykonos town late ~ 11 pm. We arranged to meet back ~11:45. Groups of 3 went out. Lori, Debs and I ventured out. Debs works for OG volunteering 2 years to put this operation together. She finally go the opportunity to evangelize last night. We headed to the bus stop where they were handing out flyers to wild places. I exchanged a flyers for a tracts.
Nancy had quite an experience. She just had to stand there with the tracts and people would ask for them! She just had to hold them out and people would grab them from her. Too cool. It her sweet unassuming look. Usually people handing out flyers have to force people to take them then you see them littering the ground where people throw them down.
We got to the The Blue Ginger Thai restaurant around midnight. It is owned by Carol and Yiannis. It is at Lymni Sq. across for the medical center. Email is firstname.lastname@example.org
I was really looking forward to this dinner because I LOVE Thai food, but it was so late. They really take their time dining in this country. We were starving and the dishes were coming so slow. It was very very good though. A little spicy. We took home some leftovers.
In bed asleep at 2 am.
Everyone was up around 8 am. Poor Stacy was up most of the night because of a banging shudder. And there a (barking) dog on their island so they don't get much sleep.
Morning devotion, then Tinos team heads back to their island.
Mary announced she felt the baby kick twice! She at 18 weeks now I think.
This is our first of three days to distribute our packets. On our island of Mykonos we have 82 boxes with 15 to 18 literature packets per box so we have 1500 literature packets. Tinos team has1200 packets to distribute. Yeow. The packet is a white bag with a handle. It has a Greek bible of the New Testament (Η ΚΑΙΝΗ ΔΙΑΘΗΚΗ) , tracts geared to young, orthodox and unbelievers and a letter.
The other team told us that the roads are very treacherous on Tinos. They are built into the side of the mountain so you look down cliffs. Animals may wander into the road anywhere at any time.
We should try to hang them on the fence, or front door and leave. If you have to give the lit pack to a person say
Ένα δώρο (pronounced eenay doro‚). It means a free gift.‚
To help us decide where to distribute our information, HM did research on every island. They got population number for the bigger‚ town on the islands. The total population of Mykonos is 9320. (Anna said 10,000 now with all the Albanians.
Mykonos town 6467
Ano Mera 1335
Platis Gialos 204
So we headed out to Ano Mera. 2nd most populated town in the island. Cara noticed that we saw our first cloud in the sky today. It is so sunny here. There is no rain during the summer so it looks like a desert island. There is lots of wind so it feels like a dry heat.
11 am and we have our Gray Poupon absolutely jam packed stuff full of these packets. We got out of the car so Phillip could get it up the hill and out of the Platis Gialos and onto the main road. We were walking up and Stephens team passed us they are on their way to the ferry to go back to Tinos. It was a nice visit. I'm glad we had our team together .
OK, so were learning. The first time out to distribute these packets we parked the car on the road near Ano Mara. There were small clusters of houses spread out on both sides of the road. We arranged to meet back at the car at 11:45. We all took off in different directions walking. My backpack was full of packets so it was very heavy. I ended up on the same street as Rachel, so she walked down to another group of houses. We got separated and I sure didn't feel comfortable out there by myself and nobody knew where I was. Seems like either we should go in pairs, or someone should know where we are, or at least the street where are walking at all times.
I did that one neighborhood then went back to the car to wait. When everyone got back together we discussed this strategy and realized that we needed to come up with another way to get these distributed. The houses are too spread so this park and walk method wasn't working .
Well, we did discover a better way. From 11:45 to 2:50 we delivered about 280 packets. Phillip drove us around teeny little roads or rather paved paths and dropped us off at different spots. After he drops off the last person, he goes back to pick up the first person. This method was very successful.
After we finished the first car load we stopped by Starbucks. Yes, Mykonos has a Starbucks. I forgot to bring food with me so I was starving. I was starting to get that familiar no-food headache.
Stephen told me to try the Starbucks Coffee Carmel Frappuccino Affrogato‚ that they are test marketing here in Greece. YUM. We paid for four drinks, but ended up getting five. I didn't know what this new drink looked like, so I accidentally picked up someone else drink. Oops. Cara got a dink after all.
The next stop was the grocery before we went home. We got food for 3 days. Bread, cheese crackers, water, gator aid. More yummy Nutella. We were on caffeine high so we went back to the apartment to refill the car (with packets) and us (with food).
We repacked the Poupon. We agreed on no real siesta because we all wanted to maintain the roll that we were on. As soon as we started feeling tired, we were up and going again. I know we got the energy from God. I mean we were in bed at 2 the night before!
Our second distribution run was from 5ish to 8:15. We did more than half of the packets! At least 30 boxes on our first day. Maybe we we're pushing our luck, but we were a little anxious about this big undertaking in this little car. Well, the Poupon performed magnificently. It also seems to have a divine gas tank. We've been driving in all over the island for 5 days. It is only on ¾ tank!
It is amazing when I feel the Lord working when you ask for something and you get it. When you ask for the right reasons, you do get it.
We are truly blessing people by doing this. Phillip is dropping us off at different little streets, we distribute, then come back to the road to wait on the corner for the Poupon to pick us up. Some distribution stories:
I went down a little road and up into a cluster of four homes in a row. A lady came out of the third home and I handed her a packet and said Ένα δώρο. She sees what it is inside the bag and she got very excited. Her face lit up and she prompted me to go down to the last (fourth) house. She wanted to make sure they got the gift also.
Lori and Cara got invited in a house. They said it was the best frappe they have ever had. That took some time so we learned to stick with the plan and dump and run, or rather bless and keep going.
A man asked me in broken English Jehovah?‚ I said no, Christian‚. He indicated that he was Orthodox. I showed him the orthodox approval seal in the book. Told him to bring it to church and read the same passage that the priest reads. He said OK, Thank you very much.‚
Rachel got kissed!
Cara got 2 figs as a gift.
We saw a guy on a moped holding one of our packets.
We eat breakfast and lunch in the apartment, but dinner we eat out. There is a budget, and our CFO (Lori) accounts for every penny. Tonight we ate dinner tonight at Ano Mara in the square. That was the best dinner so far this trip. We had a bunch of small dishes. Garlic mushrooms, tuna fish eggplant which was very good. Stuffed peppers, grape leaves (they call it something else) and I had lamb (off the skewer) for my dinner. Yum yum yum. We'll eat leftovers tomorrow night.
10 am devotion. Phillip appropriately starts these by asking how everyone is doing. So far, so good.
Distribute 11 till 2:15. We're running about 3 hours per carload. We can fit about 300 in the car so that about 100 per hour.
Headed to Tourlos. New scenery. Homes build on terraces. Cinder block and brick and cement. The buildings are ready when they are pure white on the outside.
We sure had a hard time telling what was a hotel and what was a house.
You can tell the location where someone in our group is passing out packets by where you hear barking. Almost every house seems to have a dog. We tried to just hang the packet on the fence, throw it onto their front porch, or even hang it on their front door knob, but sometimes we had to venture into an area where dogs might reside.
Well, I learned that if you're tired, not thinking straight, and just doing as you're told, you make mistakes. I made a big one with a really big black dog. I did not see the dog house on the side of the driveway. I walked past the dog house and he came tearing out of the there running after me. I felt his hot breathe on my leg and he chased me up to the house. It was a frightening situation and I was cornered and scared. He was between me and the road and he was out of control growling, barking, and pulling on his chain trying to reach me. I saw how I could climb up on the steep rocks on the far side of the driveway. I'm glad I wore my tennis shoes.
My whole body shook for about 10 minutes. And on top of that, it was made known to me that the stress from the trip is affecting how I say things. Yes, I believe it was. This was not a vacation. It was two weeks of a very busy schedule and constant contact with at least 5 people. Writing is my escape and I relished the quiet, personal time that we did get. Like this afternoon I took a couple hours to relax and walk down to the beach and I read James. Thank God for his instructions and guidance and good words.
This evening we had dinner at the place where Bruno is doing his painting. We stopped in front of the restaurant and a lady comes out and asks if we are Bruno friends. She recognized us from other times that we stopped by. She said Bruno was there every night. We ate from ~9 to 10 but we didn't see Bruno. I guess he comes later.
We got a 375 ml bottle of Macedonian‚ wine with dinner. It was a little hmmm, I can't seem to find the right adjective here - not very good. We paid 6 EU for it (2EU each), It was 2 EU in the grocery.
9 am devotion.
Since were on the last of nine days on Mykonos, we talked about Jonathan perfect plan for each team time on their respective islands. We have three days each with three very different approaches (nine days total)
Prayer / fast To quiet our spirit and prepare us for the next step. I was a worried about this step, but it seemed very necessary as we lived the experience. I could not have effective in the next step without this one.
Outreach / evangelism I felt prepared (sort of) because of Phillip lesson on Delos.
Tactical - Passing out literature packets bibles and tracts. The most physically demanding step saved for last.
Our distribution technique has worked very well these past two days. We distributed over half the packets the first day, we did one run the second day, and today we have about 300 (one car-full) more packets. We all agreed that we could easily do at least 500 more. It really did work out well to have one driver drop everyone off at different streets.
10:10 head out for our last day of distribution. We packed the Poupon and our back packs with the last of the lit packs. We really blanketed most of this place already. We started at the most populated center of the island, and before we knew it we were in the neighborhood behind Starbucks on the West side of the island. We were so thorough that at one point we followed Rachel who was putting a packet on the front door and we were taking them off the fence so the house didn't get two!
This morning we stopped at a couple neighborhoods in Platis Gialos. Rachel got flowers at one house! As the lady was cutting the rose, she got the thorn and she says problem‚. They invited us into their chapel. The Poupon was off delivering Cara to anther street so we had a short time to visit before he came back to pick us up. Inside the chapel the lady was showed us pictures of relatives that had passed away (died). She was struggling with her English, so she points to the picture and say kapoot‚.
Next we head to Mykonos town with the last of our lit packs. This episode was just a little more than a lot of confusion. We were supposed to park by the windmills (per Anna) and visit the mayor office (her nephew) between 11 and 1. So we park near the windmills. At the windmills we gave a priest a packet. He looked inside then he asked for three more! He put the packets in the trunk of his car.
I paused to take some more pictures, then I noticed two people in our group heading into town with their supply of lit packs. Well, there may have been a plan, but I sure didn't know what it was. Thank goodness I found the other team members and they didn't know the plan either. We had no idea where the mayor office was located, and we did not want to get lost in the labyrinth, so we thought it best to just wait at the last spot where we all met near the windmills.
We waited almost an hour till after one o'clock when Phillip found us waiting. Rachel did make it to the mayor office, but she only had 3 packets. Our back packs were still full so we ventured into the labyrinth together this time.
It a huge maze of two story white buildings. Colored chalk to mark the way may have been helpful, but it seemed better just to remember the vendors and when to turn left or right. With crowded streets at night it takes about 25 minutes to go from bus stop to port, during the day you could walk it in under 10 minutes.
Phillip did a great job keeping us going in the right directions in the maze. It easy to get lost, but if you do loose your bearings, you just walk straight till you get out of it so you can see where you are. I wonder if any other islands are like this?
4:20 pm. We've distributed all our lit packs then we made our way to the Internet CafƒÆ’‚Â©. It my brother birthday today. Happy Birthday Paul! I also sent a second update to my distribution list. That when I realized that I did not add Lee Johnson to my Yahoo address book. Sorry Lee! We do feel that you are still a part of this team. The seeds that your team planted last year on Mykonos have blossomed!
When we were walking through town I saw two people repainting the white on the ground so the stones look like cobblestones. How many coats of paint over the years? How often to they paint? Phillip was very astute to notice that the more direct paths were darker. They can't get painted as often because of the traffic.
For lunch today (and yesterday) I ate the rest of the delicious leftover lamb. I can't believe the waiter in the Ano Mera restaurant recommended the pork and not the lamb. I guess it a matter of taste. I ate lamb every day for two weeks in New Zealand. Yum. We got some soy sauce and Rachel made a tasty sauce for the left over pork so I also nibbled on some of that and the leftover Thai food. Since I ate all that, I only ordered stuffed tomatoes for dinner.
We had dinner with Anna tonight. She picked a restaurant called Mathews in the town of Tourlos. It was very very good. Cara & Phillip had the best Moussaka, mushrooms with garlic. Dinner for 6 (without alcohol) was ~ 80 EU.
The Olympics are always playing on every TV set that we pass by in this town. Tonight is no exception. Greece won another medal. Anna said they have 11 so far. 2 diving, walking, triple jump.
Conversations with Anna:
Anna was born here on Mykonos. She was married at 19. She lived near Delphi, then in Athens for 25 years, then home to Mykonos. She has a sister named Amaili (?) who lives in New York.
Anna said the windmills were used for about 10 years to grind wheat. Now they are only for show for the tourists.
It snowed in Athens this year, by not in Mykonos. When she flew back from New York in January she could see that Andros was covered in snow.
Anna said that the Athens Olympics 2004 President, Ms Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki has 15 villas here on Mykonos. Many different huge yachts were in the harbor during our 10 day stay in the island.
The mayor of Mykonos is Anna nephew.
Anna pays 4 EU an house for the Internet at her house.
Women in mourning wear black for one (?) year if a member of their family dies, and three years if their husband dies. Anna said But some women wear white, they don't care.‚
The waiters here get 10-12 percent of the bill. They do no rush you . You sit here forever and the bill never comes. You have to ask for it.
It was nice spend some time with Anna. She is an integral part of this mission. We are leaving two boxes of packets for her to give to people. Now she the missionary! What is the next step in God plan?
I slept great last night. Ear plugs really help muffle the extraneous sounds around and about. I slept late, the beach babes were out in the sun all morning.
I delivered a packet to Bruno at the restaurant. I'll mail him the pictures when I get back to Atlanta. He doesn't have an address. He said the postman knows him so it a very vague address in Platis Gialos.
We packed up before devotion at 11:30 at Anna table at the top with a view.
1 pm Anna took us to the ferry. She has a tall very narrow van. There is a very steep part of the road as you approach the stop sign to the main road in Platis Gialos. When we had the Poupon full of 300 packets, we had to get out of the car and walk up the hill. The engine barely had enough power to get five of us in the car up the hill with no packets. The Poupon picked us up at the top of the hill.
Anyway, Anna van was loaded with six people and our luggage and it did fine. She was on the narrowest place before the steep part of the hill and the road turns to the right. A hotel van appeared in the opposite direction. There was barely one inch to spare on either side and Anna keeps driving AND carries on a conversation with the driver of the hotel van. I have to say that was most impressive.
Ferry leaves at 2 pm. One way cost Mykonos to Athens is 14.60 EU. Tinos to Athens 14 EU.
The ferry was empty when they picked up at Mykonos. Lots of people got on at Tinos. There was a race to get a seat. At the Andros stop it filled up, every seat. Today seems like a very hot day compared to others. Wind isn't very bad so the ferry ride is nice. Yesterday it would have been awful with the high winds. Life boats on this ferry are 8.5 x 2.8 x 1.2.Big enough for 59 person it says.
There was a touch screen information kiosk on the ferry. I couldn't find any agriculture on any of the Cyclade islands except for wine made in Ano Mera on Mykonos. It is called Paraportiano.
Our team finally got to meet John. He joined the Tinos team just before they started the outreach. He shared his testimony. As he was telling it, I thought I had heard that story before. It such a coincidence that his experience paralleled Stamapis' testimony. Both John and Stamapis had a similar dilemma about whether to attend a party.
John said the Greeks in the US are more likely to go to church because that is their cultural connection.
The Tinos team had some good packet delivery stories. 20 packets were thrown in the trash. They had to dig them out and redistribute them. Tinos is also the Flying Bible‚ team because they had a couple bibles, how shall I say, enthusiastically returned at them‚. I just had one lady take it out of the bag, looked that it and the tracts, fold it back up and hand it back to me.
We were on the Ellas Flying Dolphin ferry for 4 hours. This is the slow boat. They do have faster boats that can do the trip in 2 hours.
We munched on all the leftover food. Tinos team had Oregano potato chips ?!? Also (strong) cheese flavor. Lays brand.
We got off the Ferry in Athens and dragged our luggage to the city bus. They loaded it underneath then we climb on board. Get off and drag the luggage down and across the busy street to ΠΑΡΑΔΕΙΣΟΣ (Paradeisos) bus stop to catch bus # 308 to the MEC.
Busy duties for the President and CFO of our teams. They had reports to write and finances to balance.
I was horizontal by midnight. There was so much noise that it was difficult to sleep. The room was about a third full so maybe about 70 women. They were still arriving at midnight. I think Lori said she got a 20 minute nap.
3:45 am departure from MEC. Gawd.
We got McDonalds in the airport at 5 am. I have to say that it was nice to eat something familiar. That was the best egg McMuffin ever.
Long flight home. Lee came to pick us up at Atlanta airport.
Yeah! I can put toilet paper in the toilet again!
I got a Coffee Carmel Frappuccino Affrogato at a Starbucks here in Atlanta! I showed them the flyer from the Mykonos Starbucks and they made it for me. The flyer says Try it in Greece before everyone else in the world!‚ It a Carmel Frappuccino with carmel on top and shot of expresso on top. They were also test marketing Caramel Cream Frappuccino Affrogato and Mocha Frappuccino Affrogato. Affrogato means sink‚ in Italian, so they sink‚ another shot of expresso in these drinks.
I swam in salt water here in Atlanta! The swimming pool at the Bally on Cobb Parkway is salt water. They told me that it is a new way to clean the indoor pools. When I did my swim this week, the salt taste made it a lot easier to imagine that I was back at the beach in Mykonos swimming out in the ocean.
Writing on the hat:
Pronunciation (my best guess)
Ο ΙΗΣΟΥΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ
He is the raised one
& ΕΙΝΑΙ ΟΣΩΤΗΡΑΣ ΜΟΥ
and He is my savior
eenay osothras mo
ΚΑΤΑ ΙΩΑΝΝΗΝ ΕΥΓΓΕΛΙΟΝ
Τόσο πολύ αγάπησε ο Θεόζ τον κόσμο,
So much loved God world
ώστε παρέδωσε στο θάνατο το μονογενή του Υιό,
so gave to death begotten his Son
για να μη χαθεί όποιοζ πιστεύει σ' αυτόν
for not to perish whoever believe in Him
αλλά να έχει ξωή αιώνια.
but to have life everlasing.