We woke up to a wonderful breakfast of waffles and French toast this morning (as well as the other usuals: meat, cheese, cereal, fruit, etc).
We then embarked on a journey to the “Home Spot” refugee center in Lavrio. The center is a great family place ran by a newly planted church at the cosmo vision center.
Jonah, Hannah, Courtney, Hanna K, Elizabeth, and Emily entertained the children with music. It was incredible to watch them teach the children classic Sunday school songs and then in turn watch the children teach them some songs of their own.
Matt and James were outside the center playing with some of the older kids.
I spotted Carol with her bible open immersed in deep conversation with a very young woman.
We stayed there for about an hour and then left for the Kurdish refugee camp. (Carol and Gary stayed at the Home Spot so as not to interrupt Carol’s discussion).
As we drove up to the camp, Mihalis, (our guide from the Center), explained that this site was made up of portable units in a dump sight. I could see the trash piles on the outskirts. There are approximately 100 refugees there. They have no provisions from the government and rely exclusively on humanitarian aid. Mihalis said they had not had a shipment of goods for over 2 months. The guys in our group helped the men at the camp unload 30 cases of rice (40 lbs per box), 144 boxes of Corn Flakes, and 4 bags of laundry soap into their supply trailer (which was empty). They were very happy! At the camp, Hannah, Courtney, Elizabeth, Hanna K and Emily entertained the little girls with more singing and laughter.
Jonah, Matt, Lauren and Jeff played volleyball with the boys.
James, Regina, Greg, Debbie and Mihalis engaged in conversation with the men of the camp.
The women were mostly inside the trailers or with the little ones outside. The men offered us tea (with Lots of sugar) and looked very happy as we played with their children. They requested that we play as song before we left. So the band played “Our God Is Greater” as we all joined in worship. When we said our goodbyes, one of the older little girls was pouting and not bidding us farewell. As we were walking to the bus, she ran up to Emily, grabbed on to her and begged her and us to stay. This visit clearly made an impact on her, the rest of her camp and us!
Gary and Carol joined us for a lunch of Gyros and Salads. We then went back to the Home Spot. One of the leaders of that center was celebrating a birthday today. The kids there had gotten together and made balloons and presents for him. We sang happy birthday and the kids shot streamers down from the upstairs. There was a feeling of love and family unity as the celebration took place. There was happiness, laughter and joy in great abundance! It warmed my heart to see a family type atmosphere with strangers who are all struggling with their circumstances.
We left there and went to another refugee camp. This place was much nicer as it was a summer camp for kids before being changed to a refugee camp. There were many kids at this camp and several of them gathered at the gate to greet us. This facility houses approximately 300 refugees from many countries in the Middle East. We were there only briefly and unfortunately didn’t get much of a chance to engage with the refugees.
Before going back to the Cosmo Vision Center, we were given a tour of an ancient mining camp by the port.
This is where the silver and lead were mined for the building of Athens. Some of the ancient mine openings were very small and were mined by children.
The materials were also used to build 145 fortified boats which were used to defeat Xerxes and the Persian army by trapping their navy in the narrow straits and cutting off of their supplies. These children and slaves had no idea where the materials they mined for went. Nor what they were being used for. But if not for them, the fortified ships would have not been built and the Persians would have overthrown Greece. As a result, the “Golden Age” of civilization was born! With this victory, democracy, philosophy and peace created civilized world ideas. All because of the tireless workers in the mines of Lovrio!
Sometimes we have no idea where, what, or how our ministry is being used. God creates miraculous victories and great harvests from the faithfulness of a few workers. Luke 10:2 states that “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Mihalis had a great idea to set an alarm on our phones at 10:02 and say a prayer for workers every day when it goes off.
Isaiah 61 talks about preaching the good news to the poor, healing the broken hearted, proclaiming liberty to the captives, and to comfort those who mourn. This passage surely shows how great the need is for the workers in the harvest. There is so much suffering in our world today. We have the answer of hope!! So we strive to be bold and proclaim this good news while providing aid and love to those who have none! We all are the ambassadors for Christ and His Love and Grace gives us strength!
We returned to the Cosmo Vision Center, ate a dinner of meatball soup and fried potato/veggie cakes, then retired for our evening.
The most precious things I took away from today was the way our young women touched the middle eastern children and how goofy Matt and Jonah could be as they played with the boys!
Praise the Lord for His provision, strength and protection as we show the love of Jesus to others!