I’m sitting in our apartment listening to the sounds of rain. It has only rained twice since we’ve been here! But when it rains in Athens, it rains dirt from the Sahara Desert. So all the cars and sidewalks are streaky and gross instead of being clean. I thought that was interesting to learn.
Yesterday, Friday, was our last day working at Helping Hands. It was another standard tea day. Sam and I planned the Bible story and craft for the kids program again; this time, we chose to do Noah’s Ark. I read the story from a giant picture book we already had and an HH worker, Liisa, translated to Farsi. (I also learned that Farsi is referred to sometimes as Persian and vice versa!) It was helpful to have a picture book this time instead of just reading the story out of Scripture. The kids were able to connect more with the story since there were pictures. Helping Hands has a lot of resources for their children’s program. There are Bible-related coloring pages, a Flannelgraph, lots of craft supplies, story books, videos (some in Farsi, some in Greek), and other things. Liisa is in charge of the children’s program right now and does a great job. She’s constantly looking for new ways to present the Gospel to the children and pique their interest. She suggested that we act out Bible stories, or sing songs about them. I feel very blessed to have worked with her these past weeks. Liisa is also from Finland so it was really fun learning about yet another culture! Our trip has been great for experiencing other cultures; not just Greek and Muslim, but others such as Finnish, Albanian, Russian, and Canadian, to name a few. It is so exciting to meet people from all different countries who are on fire for the Lord and are so willing to follow His will.
I almost forgot I was talking about our experience on Friday; oops… Before we read the Bible story to the kids, we played a few games such as charades and we got to sing with them again. Our friend Almira from Russia played guitar for us since Tyler is at Men’s Camp. This time, Liisa had written out the Farsi transliteration so we could sing along with the children. She spelled out how to say the Farsi symbols since we can’t read Farsi. I really appreciated her doing this because I felt much more connected with the kids. We didn’t use instruments this time when we sang, but there were still many smiling faces around the room. There were more children at this tea time, too. I think we had at least 16 kids instead of the 8 or 9 we had last time. I really enjoyed singing with the children again; it has been one of my favorite parts of the trip, especially when I think about the words we sang together. For example, we sang ‘This is the Day’. “This is the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it!” Even if the refugee children don’t understand the implications of the words they sing, they will probably keep that song in their head for a long time. The words may come to them later in life in a time of trouble or desperation. That is my hope, at least. Also on Friday I helped serve tea to refugees. I got to know another intern, Jenna, a little bit more, which was fun. Jenna and I did not serve very many refugees during our assigned time, but I was still grateful to help out. At the end of the day, we cleaned up Helping Hands, sweeping and mopping. I washed dishes. It was kind of sad walking around the center, knowing that would be the last time we’d see it. I tried to take a few pictures so I can remember what it looks like, but it wasn’t the same without all the people in it.
After work, Sam, myself, our friend Almira, and two of the interns, Jenna and Laura, went to Christy and Tasha’s house. Christy and Tasha both work at Helping Hands and are from America. They invited us over for dinner and it was really fun! We ate delicious food, had frappes that Christy made, and just sat laughing together for a long time. We short-term workers showed the other three ladies the wonders of Google Earth and it’s street-view feature. It was neat (albeit a little creepy) to be able to look at each other’s houses even though we live so far from each other! Almira got really excited about seeing her home in Russia. We also talked about our testimonies a bit and whether we felt called to the mission field full-time. It was a nice time of fellowship together; a ‘girl’s night’ if you will.
Today Sam and I went shopping with our friend Ritsa. I bought a ukulele and I’m really excited! I am only a little worried about taking it home on the plane. 🙂 The boys will be home in a few hours from Men’s Camp, which will be nice. We’re not sure what they’ll want to do when they get here, though. So that will be another adventure. I am sad to leave Greece; I feel like I am just getting to know the people and the country. But I am glad to be going home too. I know our work here is done, at least for now. God has been doing great things here, and I have confidence they will continue after we leave.
Farewell for now,