Hello from Greece! Marissa, Sarah, and I had the opportunity to go to Helping Hands today for Women’s ministry. After setting up for the day we had the opportunity to wrangle the baby room. Today was much more laid back as only 30ish people (including volunteers) enjoyed the time of fellowship. After games of tug of war, and Sarah getting wrapped up in jump ropes by small children, there was a small devotions time with the woman and the children. It was amazing to watch some of the children’s excitement as they flipped through the pages of their picture Bibles. A meal followed of delicious rice and chicken and fellowship time after, our afternoon concluded with chasing more small children around. I love the fact that we can be there to offer our support to the missionaries so that they can have time to do the things we are not equipped for, basically anything that involves speaking. We treated ourselves to pastries from a local bakery and then coffee which I discovered I ordered straight espresso with sugar. More energy for walking I guess! Now we wait in anticipation for some gyros after a long yet fulfilling day. Until next time! Anteeō!
The past couple days have been full of accomplishments and some downfalls. Yesterday we went to helping hands and had the benefit of deep cleaning the entire building. This was not the downfall. We enjoyed every minute of it, whether it was dusting fans, cleaning every child toy, or scrubbing an entire kitchen. The total process took only a few hours and we got to work with a great crew of people. This included interns from Germany and Finland and a couple from South Carolina. There was laughter and joy the whole day. After we got back to the apartment we were pooped, exhausted we lounged around making tacos and discussing our day. We ended our day playing games of Uno Dutch Blitz before turning in early for the night.
Today we had the ability to serve the family meal at Helping Hands. This included getting up on time and arriving early, for a first, and praying with three staff before the day began. We worked with a crew of 25 to prepare the delicious meal. Many of us, the Greece team, were slicing cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions, while others made fries and sausage. As the time grew closer I found myself, Brad, working in the kitchen. I assisted Bonnie, the wife of the SC couple, in washing dishes before being pulled into dishing food. I gladly jumped on board and worked with five refugees as we fished meals for 160 people. It was amazing having the ability to work with them. There was joking and lots of gratitude. Most of them could speak English, allowing me to understand them. It would have been fine either way because it was blast. When I had the ability to eat lunch I sat and talked with one of the workers, Nick. We began discussing YWAM and the group of dead refugees at the table with us. As it turns out there is a group of refugees that are deaf. Luckily they found each other and have the ability to be a part of a community. Nick described how they normally have a volunteer come in and translate for them. However that person was not able to be there today, so they left after the meal. After the meal there is a message that is completely optional. A pastor from a local Farsi speaking church delivered the message. I did not have the opportunity to hear it. I was again in the kitchen, cleaning dishes. This was of course great because I love being in the kitchen. After the message we began to clean the tables and floor, where some funny incidents happened. I am sadly not at liberty to say.
After we cleaned, we had a debrief with the whole group of 25. During the debrief we discussed the happening of the day. The children learned a story about Jesus, some mothers had great conversations and others said by to a couple of friends. Before we began to pray, the pastor discussed his ministry and outreach. He had just visited a refugee camp where a mosque was built and had a strong concentration of Muslim activists. This caused the two families comprising of six Christians to live in fear. They could not deliver any Bibles or discuss anything Christian related with our possible consequences. There were two members who were baptized in the nearby forest. The pastor asked us to pray for these people, which I ask you to do as well. We prayed for many others and ended our time for today.
When we went back to the apartment we decided to make dinner. Tonight was my night to cook and everything was going well. There were three of us in the small, small kitchen and we were moving pretty well. As I began to finish the first batch of fried chicken, we turned on the oven and everything went black. The power cut out. We were clueless as to what caused it. After going out to eat and getting delicious crepes for dessert we discover a breaker was tripped. We thought it was just a rolling blackout but we were wrong. We had to settle for burgers and not homemade fried chicken. It was rather disappointing. I tried to order the crepes in Greek and just confused everyone so there was some fun in the end. As for now the day is drawing to a close and all I know is that I need to finish this blog. So farewell, till we speak again. Not that your actually having a conversation with me.
P.S. Greece lighting is the team name we came up with. One of us may have been too enthralled with Grease as a child.
We currently have three teams oversees: Ireland, Kenya, and Greece. Please keep them in your prayers. They will be updating us with blogs throughout their trip. Here are a couple of pictures from our prayer sendoff for Team Ireland, led by Josh Bunce, and Team Kenya, led by Nate Perrin. We did not snap a picture of Team Greece, led by Ryan Haase, the night before. Team India, led by Dave Williams, will be leaving later in the summer.
After three days of planes being delayed, drones flying around, and cancelled airplanes we finally made it to Greece, only a day late! For the first few days it has taken us a little bit to finally realize that we are actually here.
The first day we were here throughout the day we went to helping hands. We were able to help set up, make baby bags, serve tea and biscuits, help clean up, and just be in fellowship with the people we are serving with. I think during those four hours are actually serving the refugees helped us realize that we are in another country with English as not the common language. Speaking with the people of Greece we found was actually not that hard since they are slowing bringing English into the no We weren’t able to speak with very many refugees but smiles and nod were enough to communicate usually. Marissa and Cianna got to play with babies, Brad played basketball and soccer with the boys, and I was able to sing a few songs with the director and serve tea and biscuits. After all the refugees left we got together with all the other workers and volunteers and got to talk about how we saw God throughout the day. Hearing the stories of the other people, who could actually speak their language, was amazing, hearing some of their stories and how they were able to connect with them was very interesting to hear. There were few refugees who could speak a little English but it was mainly, “bathroom” and “hold my baby.”
Saturday was our first tourist day, and honestly for the first few hours I was just in shock. 26,000 steps, and 13.5 miles later we saw around 10 different places. I have seen several of these places in books and read about them in Greek Mythology (which I love), and it was crazy to see it all in person and be able to actually see all the details. Just a few of the places we went were;
the Panathenic Stadium
Acropolis and Slopes
A restored Stoa of Attalus
Seeing the place where Acts 17 happened was a lot to take in. Mars Hill also gave you an amazing view of the city, but to top that was Acropolis, and to top this the view from Philopappu Monument was the best. We were able to actually see the ocean from here and several miles of Athens, and we were able to get a look at the entire Acropolis monument. Although we saw so many things we are excited to see even more in the next few weeks.
This is just the beginning to a whole new experience, and if it just gets better from here we are in for an amazing adventure, severing God, fellowshipping with others and all together building the Kingdom of God.
Until next time,
What ho all! It truly is extraordinary that my time in this incredible place is almost to a close. As can be expected, I have deeply mixed emotions about leaving. I have seen sights and met people that have touched me and transformed me, but I also know that this trip was a bit like Narnia-I came for a specific purpose and for specific lessons that God needed to show me, but I cannot stay here forever. My job is to now go back and share these precious memories with those back home and to continue on this journey with the Good Shepherd.
I have not been the greatest at updating all of you on our grand adventures, but here is a run-through on what we’ve been doing over the last two weeks: 1) Took the cable car up Table Mountain and saw two oceans, countless mountain peaks, and most of Cape Town all at once, 2) watched the sunset from a lookout spot on Chapman’s Peak, 3) eaten massive amounts of amazing food, 4) taught about 60 very sweet and squirrelly preschoolers dance (not all at once), 5) prayed and sang with missionaries doing a very important work here in a community close to where my team and I are staying, 6) watched a sunrise on the beach over the bay that is walking distance from our host home, 7) been wrecked and taught by God’s gentle and ever-loving hands, 8) worshipped and learned alongside the YWAM Discipleship Training School Sound of the Nations, 9), seen ocean waves and more incredible mountains from Cape Point, 10), been within 2 ft. of penguins in the wild, and 11), drunk slightly ridiculous amounts of very good coffee.
In the midst of all these comings in and goings out, the theme that has emerged is that God is good. He is so very good. As I have asked, prayed, pleaded, and begged for answers to the questions of who he is and why evil exists, the answer has come forth loud and clear-God is good. He is wild, not tame, and he is good. Regardless of circumstances, He is constant and sure. I am so grateful for God’s guiding hand that led me here, and for all of you who have been supporting me during this journey. It has truly been transformative. I look forward to sharing more of my stories with you when I return! For now, love and blessings to you all!
Hello everyone! (sadly, hello for the last time)
Unfortunately, our trip has come to an end. It has been a whirlwind of an experience, a trip to remember, and I have learned so much about God during this time. It is hard to know what to say about this three week trip that impacted me so much. I wish I could share all of my stories, all of the experiences, and emotions that I had.
I wish that I had one giant lesson to speak about for this trip but I am not sure I could pick one. I have realized that maybe that was the point of this trip. When I first started processing this trip at the beginning of the semester, I asked God to shake me up and do something major in my life. I expected to be shaken greatly and to have a huge life-changing experience. Isn’t that how we all imagine God works best? 😉 As the trip was winding down I realized that I had not had a life changing moment and my life was not switched upside down. While I was convicted deeply about things, I was disappointed that God had not moved in the way I imagined He would. I then realized that just because I assumed I knew the way God would work doesn’t mean that it is the way He planned on working. As I looked back on the trip I see that God did the exact opposite that I expected Him to. (He loves to keep us on our toes that way) He moved in the little things.
The little moments in this trip was where I saw God the most and where I learned the most. He was in the small child that screamed and ran around laughing, He was in the old men on the street conversing with friends, he was in the broken English conversations that taught me more patience than I knew I had. He was in the beggars on the street, he was in the shop owner that we passed everyday on our way home, He was in the refugee women that laugh and drink more tea than I thought was possible. He was in the other American girl that we met randomly and talked with for an hour and He was in the silence of the night when we were more tired than ever. God taught me how to love even when the people didn’t love me back, He showed up in the joy of the refugee that gave us food that they barely had for themselves. God taught me how to be more committed to my faith and challenged me to take my faith more seriously by seeing families risk everything to come and get a Bible. God was in the sacrifice of the workers who give everything to this ministry. He was in my teammates as we all laughed and cried together. This is what I learned. I learned the everyday things that we seem to take for granted as we walk through our lives is where God is the most. He showed me how I need to take my faith more seriously and how I should show unconditional love.
We expect God to move in the big ways. We wait for Him to show up and save the day with some miracle. While He does do that, maybe we should start to realize that maybe God isn’t swooping in to move in big ways because He would prefer to use us to reach the lost and broken. This trip is not one that I will soon forget. It is something that I will take with me throughout my entire life. It has made me want to travel more and also reach the people in my community and worldwide.
I thank God for my teammates who were encouraging and have grown to be family. (Love you guys!) I thank God for the people who we worked with and the people that we met. Thank you to everyone who prayed for us as we were in Greece! We could not have done this without you. If you get the chance and want to ask me more about the trip I would love to talk about it!
Thanks for reading our blog! We are headed back to the States now and we pray that you all have a wonderful summer!
Taylor Mabry 🙂
P.S. Greece needs no filter.
Hi! It is Noah again, sorry if you thought it was Ryan.
Today we got to help out at another large meal with helping hands. while many of the helpers were the same al of the refugees were different. It is such a blessing to get to see all of these people who have been through more than i could ever imagine and they still smile like they are on top of the world. It really puts my small problems into perspective and shows me how to enjoy the valleys and not just the mountain tops.
Yesterday we got to go to The original olympic stadium. the one that the games started on… yeah that one… I even got to race Ethan around the track. (shout out to Ethan for being such a great sport! thanks man, it meant so much to me!) we even got see ALL of the olympic torches all the way back to 1936. Those are the ones that that Jesse Owens ran at! We even saw this years olympic torch and I have to say it was very cool.
I think this is my last post of my time in Greece so i would like to say a few things. I wouldn’t trade this for the world. I love each and every one of my teammates and am so glad to have them here with me. My sister (not by blood) taylor has been a joy to have and she will always bring a smile to our faces when we are tired or we are feeling down. She may not perfect but she is the closest thing I have ever found. I am blessed to have a sister like her. Michale is one of the funniest unfunny people I know. while very few of her jokes i actually find funny she still manages to make me laugh like nothing else. plus she can make a killer pot of tea. and I don’t like tea. Victorya and I have so many jokes I can’t wait to see the places our friendship will go. she also has been the one I go to when I need to just talk to some one. she knows how to laugh and she also knows how to be there for some one when they need it. Ethan may not know what a personal space bubble is but he is one of the happiest people I know. He has so much more than he realizes and i can wait for the day he sees his true potential and becomes a man of great spiritual wealth. he he a man of great stature and heart. (I literally just watched him dance off by himself just because he was in a good mood.) nothing will ever keep this man down. He is truly unstoppable if he wants to be. Last but certainly not least is Ryan. Our fearless Leader. This man does not quit. i have gained so much respectful him over these past three weeks and he truly is a joy to be around. he gets us from place to place on time and he loves to laugh. he can take a sunburn that leaves him the same color as a tomato and not even flinch. he has led this group of crazy kids and turned us into a family. a family that I would never give up for all the money in the world. i will truly weep the day i must leave these people behind. they have done so much for me and I never want to leave any of them.
I have felt more at home in Greece with these crazy people than I have in many years. the thought of leaving them in a few days WILL bring me to my knees. I truly love each one of them. (and if you know me, you know i do not say that lightly.)
as always i end with a shout out to my mom. If you know her please tell her about these posts and tell her i am safe and truly enjoying myself. also i did not forget mothers day i just got her something from Greece.
From my Greek family to your own family I say,
May God bless you as he has blessed me.