I can’t believe it has been a week since my last post. It feels like I am in some kind of twilight zone, with time seeming to have flown by, but also feeling like it is time to head back home. A week is up, and it is time to get back to “normal” things, or so I think. It is honestly a feeling that our group has been sharing throughout today.
But back to more interesting things. If you want to know what has been going on this week, I recommend that you read the past few blogs that my teammates. So I will be filling in on what we have done over the past couple of days
Yesterday (Saturday the 19th) our adventures began at about 4:15 AM local time (around 9:15 Eastern time in the United States) heading to Athens airport for a quick flight up to Thessaloniki, which should of had us there by 8:00. However, as life would have had it, our original plane had engine issues (or something like that), and we had to disembark for another plane (which though inconvenient, is much better than realizing issues in the air). However, we eventually overcame those difficulties, as well as other issues with our rental car, and headed out to first stop at Lydia’s Baptistry, the Lydia spoken of in Acts 16. While we cannot be sure, some scholars believe that the spot shown in the picture below marks where Paul and his companions met Lydia and other God Worshipers of Philippi and the surrounding areas. It was pretty surreal! Also, the water was delightfully frigid.
After spending a few minutes there, all too short for what I would of liked, but pressed for time due to the delays from earlier, we moved on to the archeological site of Philippi. This was incredible. Our guide, Ken Dirrim, provided much historical background to the city. While I will not recall everything here for space (and for lack of writing it all down🙃), two things I would like to emphasize. One is the court (this has a much more proper name, one that I do not recall as of writing this) that is shown in the panorama below, where Paul was dragged before the magistrates after casting out the future-telling demon the servant girl was possessed by in Acts 16. It is always much easier to connect with the scriptures if one has a picture, let alone being able to walk where Paul was.
The other picture is that of the Roman road Via Egnatia. This is the road that Paul would have walked on during his travels in the area. It was during this time that I realized I had fulfilled a life-long desire of mine: to visit biblical sights where heroes of the faith had walked themselves. And here I am fulfilling this dream at 21 years old, not decades down the road. It has me grateful to God for the opportunity.
The last thing I want to talk about is the worship services we attended today, Sunday the 20th (really yesterday here in Greece, but we will pretend that I got to bed at a decent time). In the morning we attended the 2nd Greek Evangelical Church in Athens, which I am told was a church plant from Smyrna mentioned in Revelation. This was our second time attending it, and though the service is done in Greek, there is a translator for the small but consistent group of English speaking missionaries and that come through Greece. It is amazing to experience worship with those speaking a different language. It helps one realize that they apart of the Global church, and I am encourage to have a picture of believers from around the globe. It is definitely will be one of the highlights of my trip. We also attended a Persian church in the evening, which serves the Middle Eastern refugee community here. Again, hearing others praise God in a language different from your own is awe-inspring, and I recommend everyone to experience it at some point.
The hour has grown late, so I am not really sure how else to end this but to say that I am doing well, am feeling much more comfortable with the Greek culture, particularly of crossing the roads (ask my teammates about it!), and blessed by both what God has done in the past week and am looking forward to the week ahead!