BC Juniors Global

Join Barclay College students as they learn about Christian life, service, and leadership in the global classroom.


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First Day(aka. Jet-lag Blues)

We arrived in Athens, Greece yesterday morning dead tired. None of us had truly gotten a good nights sleep since Tuesday and none of us slept all that well on the nine-plus hours of flying that we did on the way over here. And then there’s the jet-lag…. There was one point, for myself at least where I couldn’t tell you accurately if I was awake or dreaming. Now normally a person would waste no time in getting to the place their staying and getting in a well earned and much desired nap before trying to attempt anything. And it almost began like that. We did spend some time at the place we are staying. It is a wonderful little place owned by Kallie and Jim, and wonderful elderly couple whose heart for Christ is worn on their sleeves. We however did not stay long. Not even long enough for a short nap. Against everything screaming inside of us telling us to sleep, we went over to the ministry center to get a feel for the place and to begin to form relationships with the refugees who were there. At the time there was no place I’d rather be than in my bed, but in hindsight I could not be more pleased that we went.

It all started with a question. When we arrived at the ministry center, we were greeted warmly and show around the facility. Afterwards, in spite of our yawns and drooping eyes, we went to interact with the refugees who were there. Honestly, I didn’t even know where to begin, I was tired, I’ve never been one to start up conversations with people I don’t even know, and we don’t even speak the same language. What could I possibly do? There, sitting at one of the tables, was a man. Not knowing how to strike up a conversation with the guy, I invited him to play a game of chess with me, to which he declined but return the invitation with a question of his own: “Where are you from?” I answered and from there a conversation was born. Most of it was him talking(in a mix of broken English and his own language) and me listening to him talk about his home, his problems, his concerns, his jokes, and of other things which I couldn’t decipher. And all throughout our conversation all the weariness and exhaustion I felt melted away. I may not have been able to do much, but I could listen to this man. I could hear his story and by the grace of God I was able to listen and be blessed by conversation with him. I never caught his name, but I look forward to seeing and listening to him again.

It is a strange thing to think that God has called us here to serve Him. I can’t help but have a feeling that I am totally unprepared and unqualified to make any difference here for anyone. But I know that God’s ministry does not depend on me or my qualifications. God does not need the guy with the most experience or the best of the best. God looks for those who are obedient to His will, and makes them qualified. I only pray that I can be obedient to Him.

-Josiah(Brosiah)

1 Corinthians 1:30-31


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Last Week at Helping Hands

After we got back from a wonderful few days of retreat with the Helping Hands team, we spent the last two days at Helping Hands for their meal day and women’s showers day. The last couple of days have also been extremely warm outside, so working at Helping Hands has been also pretty warm. It’s crazy to think that we have only been at the Helping Hands center four times now and we are leaving this coming Monday; however, each of us have gotten the hang of what we are supposed to do and how we can help out as we each have done a large variety of the jobs: playing with the babies and kids, serving and making food, and lots of setting up and cleaning.

Yesterday, Liz and I helped out with the kids while Tiffany helped out in the kitchen, and today, Liz played with the kids, Tiffany was helping with kids and bouncing around helping out, and I mostly helped in the kitchen. Nick is still currently gone to Men’s Camp with a few of the guys from Helping Hands to serve refugee men. It is kind of crazy how simple and how rewarding it is to be present and available to serve. None of the tasks we have done have been challenging, but they can be more helpful then you realize. For me, my “biggest” task today was to help lift the giant, hot pans of food back and forth as I capable of doing it with no problem. You never realized how helpful you can be until you simply ask, “How can I help?” I am going to miss this place, the grateful smiles from the refugees, the wonderful laughs from the kids, the adorable little tiny babies, and especially the team we got to spend the last few weeks getting to know. As much as miss home, I also don’t want to leave yet. I feel like there is so much more I can do out here, and I don’t want to say goodbye to the new friends we have made. Our last day of serving will be this Friday for tea house, but I only wish we had more time. Please pray for everyone that will walk through Helping Hands: that they will see the love and passion that the people who serve there are pouring out to them as they are each following Christ. God Bless!

-Bekah Palmer

 


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Kids. Swim. Sleep. Repeat.

This past weekend was relaxing, busy, tiring, and hectic mixed into 5 days. The main things I remember doing were watching the Helping Hands staff’s children, swimming A LOT, and feeling so tired that whenever we had free time, I would sleep. This wasn’t the normal routine of the weekend, though. We also experienced Corinth! We got to hike up the Acrocorinth. We didn’t get to hike up all the way to the top, because we arrived at 2:30, and they closed at 3:00. So, we only got through the three gates that were surrounding the structures. We also went to see the Corinth Cannal. Come to find out that everyone on our team (besides Ken and I) would bungee-jump off of the bridge. Everyone else is all for it, but I’d rather look at the scenery – not be a part of it.

It was a lot of fun watching kids, seeing the sights, and relaxing for a little while.

P.S. I did not miss the hill in front of our apartment AT ALL!

P.P.S. It was Tiffany’s birthday on the 29th, and the whole staff of Helping Hands and the JG Greece team surprised her with a cake and sang “Happy Birthday” to her at dinner!

Elizabeth Herbel


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The harvest is plentiful.

Every Wednesday is shower day for the women at Helping Hands. This is a time where they let women and children come in to take showers, do laundry, spend time together and eat lunch. This is a less structured day, but still a lot of fun (and tiring too!).  Since today was only for women, Nick wasn’t with us, but he helped at a men’s shower day at another ministry center a few blocks from us.

Similar to yesterday, we could work in the kitchen, spend time with kids, or sit with the adults. While Bekah served in the kitchen, Liz and I spent most of the time with the kids. Since they do not have a structured program on Wednesday, we are in the main area with all the adults as well. It is nice to be able to interact with everyone as well as watch the women interact with one another. This is one of the only times these refugees are able to simply spend time together and have their heads uncovered for a period of time.  I enjoyed being able to play and laugh with the kids while playing with playdough or trying to teach them Uno when neither of us can understand the other persons language.

As much as I enjoyed the day, one of my favorite parts was during our debrief time. All of the staff gathered to share how they saw God at work and then we ended our time in prayer. There are two stories I wanted to share: 1. There was one refugee who came to know the Lord a year ago. During the devotional time, she got up and shared her story with the women and said how she found Jesus and Jesus is the Truth. She was also to tell the women that she used to be Muslim but how God changed her life. She was very brave!  2. There was another woman who had three precious little boys. There is a chance that this is the last time that they will come to Helping Hands because they may be going back to Afghanistan. One of the staff members asked if she could be forward with her. The staff member proceeded to tell her about Jesus and why they do what they do at Helping Hands. The lady kept saying that she sees the difference. She sees how we are actually living out our faith and not just following something blindly. She asked questions and talked more with the staff member and another one of the ladies. They prayed for her and laid hands on her.  While she is still unsure, she is questioning and willing to listen. Pray for her with us that she may come to know the Lord and the depth of this love.    The boldness of the staff and their deep desire for the refugees is amazing.

There is more that I could share about the stories we are hearing, but know that people are hungry. The refugees are physically hungry and it truly is a blessing to help them in such a practical way, but it is evident that they are also spiritually hungry. So many of them want to know more about God. They want to understand how is it different from what they have been taught all their lives as Muslims. Some are starting to sense God’s presence and feel his peace which is so different than a lot of what they are dealing with.  The harvest truly is plentiful and we have a faithful God!

 

 

 


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Clothes, Food, and Lots of Babies

Today, we were finally all able to go to Helping Hands as a team to help out for one of the normal meal days. We got there earlier to join in the prayer time with their team and to help with meal prep. We were expecting about 16o refugees, so after we prayed, we got right into chopping tomatoes and cucumbers for the Greek salads. Once we got most of the food prepared, everyone was gathered together to go over what the schedule was for today and to volunteer for the different jobs before we pray and open the doors. Nick volunteered to work in the kitchen; Tiffany volunteered to help with the kids in their program that included songs, crafts, a lesson, and play times; Liz didn’t volunteer for a specific job as there was already a lot of volunteers for most of the jobs; and I volunteered to help out in the baby room to play with the toddlers and babies so the moms could stay for the Gospel presentation(maybe selfishly but I love babies and toddlers so I didn’t want to miss that opportunity). After we prayed for the day, we got some clothes racks out and opened up the doors! I guess it got pretty crazy down at the entrance as there was a few people who got in fights.

As soon as people walked in though, everyone was smiling and saying “Salaam”(hello) to us as they walked by. You could tell that most of them had been there before and appreciated what Helping Hands was doing there. We waited for all of the refugees to come in, find a spot to sit, and grab some clothes for all of their family there before we started serving lunch. It was kind of fun just watching some of the kids pick out clothes and trying them on, especially when the clothes were definitely not their size. Serving lunch reminded me of waiting tables like I normally do as my summer job, but it was different this time. This serving was not for my personal, monetary gain; instead, we were serving for both these people’s physical health and give them an opportunity to reach Christ. It’s amazing to think how God will use your past experiences for something new and unexpectedly in the future. Once lunch was finished, we all went to the areas we volunteered to help in along with all the kids and babies. In the baby room, unlike the kids room, there was no specified program; instead, we basically just watched and played with the babies. I loved seeing their smiley faces as I played with the toddlers and babies as the time just went by so quickly. As much as I enjoyed playing with toddlers, I was exhausted after they had all left.

Once all of the refugees left, we cleaned up the place and had a time to debrief. Some of the thoughts from those who shared during our debriefing time were so simple and yet so incredible as well. Those who were involved with opening the doors also explained why a fight had broke out downstairs. The whole day made everything we had been talking about before we came more real, and it opened my eyes to  what is really like right now for the refugees. It makes me want to keep serving though and to keep helping wherever I can. So I am excited to see what tomorrow brings as us girls will go back for the women’s shower day! Please pray for the families we have met and will meet tomorrow as well for all of those who have been serving at Helping Hands! God bless!

– Bekah Palmer


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Can You Hear Me Now? …Now?

Greetings from Thessaloniki!

 

Today, Team Greece got to explore Philippi! What an awesome time this was. We had a spectacular tour guide, our very own Mr. Dirrim. Our day started in Athens, but we got on a plane and flew north so we could visit Philippi and Thessaloniki. We landed in Thessaloniki around 11:00 am and drove straight to Philippi. The scenery was very beautiful. North of Athens is very lush countryside. Everything was so green, I almost felt like I was back in Hawaii again, only in Greece. The lake we drove by was so blue and looking very good. I wanted to stop by and take a dip, but we had a schedule to keep if we were going to see everything we wanted.

The cities that were right before Philippi looked like some sort of vacation resorts. We entered into the towns well above them and we had a bird’s eye view of what looked like some gorgeous homes and even more stunning beaches. We got to see where the apostle Paul came to shore at Troaz on his way to Philippi. It looked majestic. Paul probably had a different view. Ha ha. Arriving in Phillipi, we stopped at a little church with a baptistery. It was beautifully made. I will put a picture up with this post. Someone disrupted the flow of this creek to make it flow where they wanted it to go. It was cool, they built a couple walls and steps down into the water in the shape of a cross. That is where they baptize people. I got baptized in a pastor’s pool in Vancouver Washington. So, a little different than a flowing creek, in the shape of a cross, in Ancient Philippi! From here, Mr. Dirrim taught a little bit on Acts 16. Mr. Dirrim did an excellent job at opening the text and showing us some stuff that is kind of hidden within it. Learning about Lydia, Paul, and the Philippians was seen in a new light. I love how God continues to open more and more to us through His word. I hope I never think I have got all I can get out of a passage of Scripture.

Then, we journeyed down the road a bit to the ruins of Phillipi that were still intact. One site of which was the theatre. It was my first time in a theatre like this and it was eye opening. The craftsmanship of this place was truly amazing. These theatres were constructed to capture the voices that came from the bottom of theatre and project them all the way to the top which was easily 100 + feet. Below this paragraph is a picture of Tiffany standing on a white square. This square is the best spot and it is the most efficient spot for this parabolic theatre to project noise. It reaches the top without even thinking twice. We had an experiment to see just how much different the noise was in other spots. The results were shocking. Starting from 20 feet in front of Tiffany and ending at Tiffany has many different sounds. There is nothing like making noise than where Tiffany stands than all of the theatre. In that spot, your ears ring such a different tune than the rest. I am having a very difficult time trying to explain it, but I hope you are gettin it. It may appear to be difficult to hear the performers from all the way up top, but that is just not the case. I could hear Tiffany with ease from where this picture was taken. Simply incredible.image

Next, we kept walking until we came upon an old part of the Via Egnatia. This is a road that was constructed by Rome to connect important cities. Ultimately, this road served Paul and early missionaries to spread the gospel! What was intended for profit and gain by Roman Empire, was used to further the Kindom of God. God knows what He is doing and how to use evil for good. It felt amazing to stand on the Via Egnatia literally where Paul walked! Again, Mr. Dirrim opened up some of Scripture to us, giving us a more full look at what it meant back in the first century. You must visit this yourself! We looked at the ruins of Philippi and were fascinated by how much still stands and the brilliance it took to construct the village. What a special day it was. The  picture below the top picture is Ancient Philippi. Incredible, right. Below is the Via Egnatia. image

This picture is piece of history. Paul could very well of stood where Mr. Dirrim is standing. What an amazing picture to think about in your mind.

Here is a picture of the remains of Ancient Philippi.image

After this, we headed back to Thessaloniki. We walked down to the water and it was crazy packed with people. It appeared mostly local people. Thessaloniki sure knows how to enjoy the night life. There was thousands of people. We did not explore Thessaloniki. That is on our agenda for tomorrow. More to come. Below is a picture of our team at the baptistery spot. Just in front of us is the actual baptizing spot.image

That is four cool cats!

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Can you see the cross?

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned.

Blessings

Nick LeMonds


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Boys will be boys

Today we spent the day at The Meeting Place, a refugee ministry of Samaritans Purse. This organization was a place where primarily Afghan refugees could come to drink tea, rest, and spend some time indoors. Our job was simply to be with them. Nick was downstairs talking with the men. Bekah, Liz and I spent lots of time with the kids. It was a blast! We drew pictures with them, tried to teach each other our languages, and we laughed a lot.   One of my favorite times in the morning was teaching some of the kids English and they taught me Farsi. Let me just say that they were able to repeat English way better than I could repeat Farsi!

When we returned from getting lunch, the center was already filled with several families. Bekah and Liz served the tea so I was on my own with the kids for a while. It was precious to walk back in the room and be greeted with huge smiles once some of the kids saw me sit down. There were definitely more people and kids in the room, and it was more chaotic than the morning, but we had fun. I was reminded that kids are kids no matter where they are from. Boys will always be boys! Several were very mischievous as they took the crayons and hid them or whispered and laughed, knowing we couldn’t hear them. We later found out that they were drawing pictures of each of us and found it quite hilarious. We played a continuous game of keep away throughout most of the afternoon.

One of my personal favorites in the afternoon was playing with one of the kids across from me. He started blowing a crayon on the table, which soon became us blowing it across the table to one another trying not to make it fall off the table.   His face lit up when he smiled. He would get so focused and into the game. It was so simple but so full of joy.

As I sat there with the kids, I started to think about how much instability is in their life right now. The younger ones probably have no idea, but I’m sure the ones that are a little older do. It was fun to have this afternoon to see them in a peaceful environment where the kids can be kids. Everyone has a story, and this is part of theirs. I pray that God would help them so that throughout their lives they can grow up knowing the Lord and his great love for them.

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