Category Archives: Sept/Jan 2012/2013 DTS

Kalispera Athina! (Hello Athens!)

By | DTS, Europe, Outreach, Sept/Jan 2012/2013 DTS | 2 Comments

We are in Athens! And though Cyprus and Greece speak the same language, the two countries are very different from each other. The economic crisis is much more evident here than it was in Cyprus; the streets are packed with people who have lost their jobs and homes and have nowhere else to go. 80% of immigration into Europe comes through Greece, so in addition to all the Greek people without jobs, there are loads of other immigrants joining them in their desperation. The church we’re staying in is right in the center of the red-light district; we’re surrounded by drugs, graffiti, and prostitution. Despite all these things, God is really showing us the beauty of Athens and helping us to love the city as much as He does.

We teach English and German to refugees. Most of the people who come to our lessons are from Afghanistan and Iran. We teach all ages and levels, from the most basic, to more advance conversationalists.

Three times a week we serve food to Greek, Iranian, and Afghani people. This takes place in the same building where we’re staying. Between 70-150 people come for food and fellowship. Before serving the food, there is some time for us to present a drama or give a talk. During eating, the aim for us is to build relationships. It can be challenging because of language barriers, but we try.

In addition to these things, we also get to be a part of some other fun things in the city. Here’s a cool story Miguel had from one of our days out:

One  afternoon we met up with another YWAM team that’s also here on outreach to worship together in a popular square called Plaka. It was really great; both teams were working together as if they had known each other for a long time. People around came closer to find out what we were doing. After a little while some of us got up and started to speak with the people around us. Dortje and I spotted a guy we wanted to talk to, but he got up from where he was sitting and left before we could even speak to him. We were disappointed that we had missed him, but that disappointment was short-lived because we spotted the man again sitting near to our group who was worshipping. We approached him and had a good conversation. He was feeling anxious and upset about something that had happened to him earlier that day. It seemed that he really needed someone to speak to, and we were there at the perfect time. He told us that he had wanted to go into the church that is at the square, but it was shut. So, he considered taking the tram home, but felt to sit down, drink his coke, have a smoke and then go home. That’s when we approached him. We mainly just listened to him. He was going through a bit of a rough time in his life, and all we really could do was to listen. At the end, we prayered for him and gave him some scriptures. He was really encouraged. He kept telling us for minutes how encouraged he was, how different he know felt after talking to us and that we should keep doing what we’re doing. Sometimes all that people need is someone who is willing to really listen to them.

It’s so rewarding to see how God touches the lives of the people we meet!

We have many more stories and we can’t wait to share them with you when we return home. Until then, keep praying for us and our last three weeks in Greece!

Love,

Alex, Dortje, Edel, Jake, Janik, Josien, Kevin, Lisanne, Miguel, Samantha & Susie.

Outreach in Macedonia!

By | DTS, Europe, Outreach, Sept/Jan 2012/2013 DTS | One Comment

Our team made it to the first outreach location of our 2 month outreach phase: Macedonia!

We had some travel adventures; Our Megabus broke down in the middle of the M1 in London on the way to the airport which caused us to grab our bags, jump the fence and hike to the nearest Underground.  We nearly missed our flight but thankfully we all made it to Macedonia on May 3rd.

In Macedonia things like the culture, the food, the people, the weather, the atmosphere, etc. are very different than we’re used to; but in very cool ways!  Our contact here has definitely been a big help in getting us plugged into the culture and community and we’ve been able to meet a lot of locals.

One of the words that was given for our team before we left was that we were meant to “be” a lot more than we were meant to “do”,  and we’ve noticed how spot on that has been from the beginning.  We spend a lot of time getting to know people and talking about life together. Through these friendships we are able to inspire people to ask questions, seek further and help them open up their hearts and minds to God. Because God loves them more than they could ever imagine!

Sports ministry in particular has been a great opportunity for us to get better involved with the community here.  We have spent a lot of afternoons at the park,  taking a basketball and football and starting up a game with local youth, the students,  and even the older generations of the community.  It’s also been really cool to be able to spend time with people here that don’t even speak English and we’ve made a lot of new friends that we’ve been able to re-connect and have coffee and conversations with.

 

One of our favorite stories  from the past month is about our time spent with a people group here called the Roma gypsies.  They live in a very run-down part of the city,  and most of them are beggars during the day throughout the streets.  The first time we visited them we brought strawberries to share and a football to play games with them.  We had a great time playing with all the kids,  about 30-40 of them all together. We felt like God wanted us to bring them clothes,  nail polish  and some bread. We spent a long time just hanging out with them;  painting nails,  playing games,  singing songs about Jesus and His love,  giving gifts and sharing bread with them. It was a great experience!

It’s crazy to think that our time in Macedonia is already coming to a close. Outreach here this far has been great,  and we have had the most incredible opportunities to be a part of what God is doing here.  We’ve seen some cool things happen,  seen God moving in others and have experienced His love for them at the same time,  and that is such a great privilege to have over our short time here.  We are so grateful,  and so in awe; God is good!

Love,
Anne, Becky, Christian, Daniel, Elsa, Janina, Kajsa, Robyn, Suzan.

DTS outreach in Cyprus!

By | DTS, Europe, Outreach, Sept/Jan 2012/2013 DTS | 3 Comments

The first thing you notice in Cyprus is the glorious sunshine and sweltering heat. It’s absolutely fantastic . The island itself is gorgeous with mountains, bright flowers, and beaches all around. Not a bad place to spread the love of Jesus! Time is a relative concept here. When someone tells you they’ll see you at 10:00, 10:45 is perfectly acceptable. People are much more relaxed about things. Relationships are the important thing, not schedules or tasks.

Before we arrived in Cyprus, we knew the country was divided into a “Greek side” and a “Turkish side,” but I don’t think any of us realized that there was an actual, passport controlled border; and that by crossing that border, it feels you’re stepping into a completely different country. It definitely adds an interesting dynamic to the country and to our outreach!

We do things like spending time with God, listen to & give devotionals, we worship and we intercede; During those hours we ask God what to pray for and what to share, and then we pray those things for Cyprus. We also go into the town and talk to people about life and God.  On Sunday we split the team up to go to different churches (of varying nationalities) and we preach, share testimonies, lead worship, perform dramas, and share in community. We have also been working with the youth. One youth group is at the International church on Sunday mornings; the other is a Monday night young adult group. We also meet several times per week with some Sri Lankan university students who go to school on the Turkish side of Cyprus. We go over there a few times a week to hang out with them and help them practice their English. We’ve had some really encouraging experiences with them!

Our main contact here in Cyprus is a wonderful man called George. George is a church planter and the pastor of the Sri Lankan church we’ve been working with. He used to be involved with YWAM here in Cyprus. Because of his many different contacts, we’ve been able to be involved in many different activities here in Cyprus. It has been a real challenge for us to step out of our comfort zones, but also a huge blessing!  Besides the Sri Lankan church we are also involved in a Filipino church, a Bulgarian church, a small, Sri Lankan village church and an international church.

We also worked with Anastasia, a 23 year old woman with a huge heart for God. With her family, she founded the country’s only Christian radio station, which has recently been recognized by the government and approved to reach the whole of Cyprus. We visited the station and as a team, we helped clean the station, we recorded a song that we had written as a team and we also did a radio interview. It’s really exciting to think that all of Cyprus will be hearing the song God’s given us, and the story behind it. That’s what you call an outreach!

It seems like we just stumble into situations that God has planned for us. We’re really able to see how badly God wants to reach His people. So for now we’ve selected one of the many stories to share with you all.

It was 2:30pm. Miguel and I (Josien) wanted to encourage shopkeepers with prayer for their businesses. We found out that not all Cypriots speak English but the ones that did were really open to talk and we were able to pray for a few business, which was very exciting. We came to a leather shop and the guy working there was about our age. When we asked to pray for him, he said, ‘”Well, I’m an atheist, but please tell me everything about your faith.” Then he gave us chairs to sit on to make the conversation comfortable. He had loads of questions and interesting thoughts for us. He was really searching for God and for truth. After talking with him for about an hour, he allowed us to pray for him. He was really impressed. “Wow!” he shouted, “You guys really prayed with your soul. You are great Christians!” He had never seen anything like that. We exchanged phone numbers to meet again. He also wanted us to meet his friends because he wanted them to hear what we believe, as well. What a great outreach experience!


Love,

Alex, Dortje, Edel, Jake, Janik, Josien, Kevin, Lisanne, Miguel, Samantha & Susie.