One Week Witnessing in Greece
This last week Anna and I have had the privilege of helping out in a church plant in the Greek island of Kos. Kos is a small island just off the coast of turkey which has most of it's economy based around tourism. Alec and Glynn Molton are the missionaries we assisted, they hail from the Open Air Mission (another open air/street evangelism group operating in the UK).
The Molton's have been working to plant an evangelical church on Kos as there isn't one currently. Their heart is to see Greek people come to the saviour and trust in Him alone. This is much needed as many of the Greeks are trusting in the Greek Orthodox church to save them and justify them. The lamentable situation of many Greeks is that they trust a hierarchy of men to tell them what to believe when these self same men have introduce all manner of heresies into the Orthodox church. To give example of just a few, icons (decorated pictures of saints) are worshipped with festivals at which they are kissed and prayed to, many people have their own small shrine at the front of their home at which they offer praise to the creature rather than the creator. In this environment the work is hard and the Molton's have my admiration for working in Kos and they need as much prayer support as possible.
We arrived very early morning Sunday Kos time and after a short sleep joined the Molton's and their grand-daughter and travelled to Kos town for Sunday morning church service. We set up in the hotel tv room that is the Kos Christian Fellowship's chapel and were joined by a Dutch family for the morning. It was wonderful to start a week of evangelism with praise and worship to our great God and father in heaven. After the service we headed to the pool area of the hotel to have lunch together and rest until the evening service. We enjoyed the rest and after afternoon passed we set up for the evening service again, as no-one else arrived we spent some time in prayer and packed up for home. With a hit and miss congregation it is quite jarring for the Molton's on Sunday's and we pray that God would encourage them. Monday was a day of rest and preparation for Alec for the following Sunday and for us to recover from the flight.
Tuesday we went out to deliver newspapers of a very different sort to the normal ones people would expect, bilingual (Greek/English) papers delivering the great news of eternal life. Before going we all joined in prayer and a time of bible study as is the habit of the Molton's every morning. After appealing to God on high to work in the lives of those we witnessed to this day we drove to kos town. In town we dropped Alec at his normal spot by the harbour where he has a board advertising the church and tracts/literature he offers to all passing. Leaving him there we headed into the town residential area and began with Glynn to deliver newspapers. This seems like a small work to some but I am convinced that it is a very useful way to get literature into the hands of people who would not publicly take it on the streets.
We delivered papers to a variety of places and one of the news papers got into the hands of Drosos who then called Alec wanting to talk. Drosos a is rich Greek man and wants for nothing material but is alone in the world and himself says that he "has nothing at all". Later in the week Alec and he were able to sit and talk for quite some time and we pray that this would be the beginning of God's drawing this man to Himself. We praise God that one of the Greeks responded positively to the newspapers and pray that He would bring Drosos to a living faith in Jesus.
In the afternoon we drove down the length of the island and stopping at the beaches we tracted all the tourist cars and gave out tracts to those we met. Hot work but satisfying to know that there are many who have come to the church through this witness.
Wednesday we travelled to a nearby volcanic Island called Nistros to do some sight seeing. The island was an interesting visit and I was fascinated by the caldera/crater of the volcano with all it's vents and sulphur gas plumes. The boat ride home was a little rough so praise God that we got home safely.
Thursday we headed into Kos town and were handing tracts out in the tourist cafe stretch on the harbour front not far from Alec. This was the first time that Anna and I have worked in a multilingual setting for giving out tracts. It was sometimes difficult to tell if people refused tracts due to language or because they didn't want them... oh well. Many tracts went out and we were able to give tracts to many of the locals also which we were surprised at given they are very often anti-protestant.
During the morning Anna was approached by an Irish couple doing a great and slightly unconventional thing, they are walking across Europe praying for its people. They began quite some time ago and have a caravan as their base from which they walk out 25mi each day while they pray. They encouraged us and Alec and among other talk said they would pray for the Molton's work. We were also able to speak with a Jewish family and give them some tracts. After we finished the tracts that we had from Alec for the morning it was time to go so we headed over to be picked up by Glynn with Alec.
Today Alec and Drosos had their chat and while this was happening Anna and I went to the nearby beach for a swim and also tracted all the tourist cars present. As is this faithful couple's habit drove back home via the beach car parks and placed tracts on the cars.
Friday morning there was a large sea liner from Cyprus in dock as we arrived, this was to be quite a benefit today as we could witness to the day visitors from Cyprus also. As per yesterday we set up in the cafe strip and began to hand out tracts. Today I noticed that there were a lot of Greek speakers (silly me was told later that they were Cypriots!), regardless they were taking tracts and we even had a couple of people come and ask for a Greek tract. I also noticed that the tracts we'd given out were being shared around the tables at the cafe next to us. It is exciting to see this happen, people wanting to know about the work of God in Jesus Christ.
During the morning a Jewish couple came up to ask for directions and I was able to engage them in conversation for a short period. The were cultural Jews only but I challenged them to consider the claims of their ancestor's Messiah and after chatting for a short period they left with some literature smiling. We also were encouraged by a Christian Dutch couple who likewise were after directions. After the encounters I've had so far with Dutch Reform folk I must say that they strike me as genuine warm Christians pleased to see the word preached however it can be. This is a saddening contrast to the many evangelicals I have met who are much more willing to cast aspersions as to "effectiveness" and judgement than to encourage us.
During the morning an ex-pat Cypriot named Andrew also came to enquire what we were doing. After giving him a tract Anna and I engaged him in conversation which had an easy starting point, given he hailed from Brisbane! We were able to talk for a short period only as the liner was soon to leave, but we talked through sin judgement and salvation and I confronted him with the demands of Christ to repent and trust in Him alone. After thanking us and receiving some literature Andrew headed away and we pray that he would make it back to Brisbane a changed man and there begin a new life in Christ.
As the morning came to a close we travelled to the various car parks and then stopped at one of the beaches to have an evening swim.
As Saturday was our last day on the Island before an overnight flight we started late and had an easier day. We went to the tourist town of Kardamina in the afternoon, partly for us to have a wonder around and partly for Alec to chat to Stefos another Greek contact. A lot of the conversations they have are building foundations for ongoing evangelism but Stefos knows the gospel and what the Molton's stand for. In the evening we went to one of the Greek festivals, a honey festival. This was all the things that Greeks appear to love, lots of food, loud music, and dancing. We enjoyed the food and atmosphere but had to leave before the night's entertainment began, we had to get to bed.
Now back in the UK almost a week later we can only thank and praise God for the work of the Molton's in Kos and also for their hospitality to us. We pray that God would be glorified in them and that many in Kos would be saved for Jesus name's sake.