Following Paul's FootstepsWell, since we spent yesterday in Athens (Acts 17), we followed him to Corinth today (Acts 18). Alexander showed us around the ruins of ancient Corinth. He provides incredible insight into the Biblical history of each place we visit. We saw a plaque honoring Erastus (mentioned in Romans 16, among other places), we stood where Paul would have stood when defending himself before Gallio, and we saw part of the sign for the Hebrew synagogue, where Paul would have taught about Christ. It was truly amazing to feel that connection with the text!
In the afternoon, we visited Cenchrea, where Paul shaved his head because of a vow to God he had made. (Don't worry - even though we were following in his steps today, no one shaved his head!) After that, some of us went back to the hotel to rest, while the other group visited Epidaurus and saw an incredible ancient ampitheater. We also came back through Napholi, the first capital of Greece. Alexander and Eleni Merrylitos have been such wonderful guides this weekend, and they have taken good care of us. We will begin tomorrow by having our own worship service with them in the Omonia Church of Christ building. Then, we will hop on a plane and head to Philadelphia, then Nashville!
As we conclude this trip, we all have alot of stories. Some of them are humorous, while others show the frustration we faced at some points. I believe Satan would love for us to let those little challenges discourage us - yet our team is determined not to let them. We were given the opportunity to teach children about Jesus, encourage Christians in a mission field, and hopefully change lives in the process. He can use our meager efforts to accomplish His goals. Let's all pray that will happen.
Walking in AthensThursday was a busy but wonderful final day for our campaign. We enjoyed our final day at Novoshelone - the kids were sad to see us go, but it felt good that we made a real connection with them. After that, we had a celebratory lunch with our translators. They are such an important part of our work, and they have done a tremendous job. We topped off the day with Greg Coles leading a great Men's Bible study before our evening service. Our topic that night was worship, and there were multiple visitors. Our Elders met with the men of the church to discuss future efforts.
We left immediately after the evening service. It was a tearful goodbye, and we will continue to pray for them. We stayed a few hourse in Donetsk before leaving EARLY this morning on a 5:30 flight to Athens. We arrived in Athens (with our luggage) to be greeted by Alexander and Eleni Merrylitos. They took us to breakfast by the Agean Sea (where Paul landed to visit Athens in Acts 17), they led us up to the Parthenon, and we walked up to Mars Hill (where Paul preached in Acts 17). This evening, Eleni cooked a wonderful dinner for us. This has been a terrific way to "decompress" from our trip and encourage missionaries that we support. We will visit ancient Corinth tomorrow before flying home on Sunday. That day is quickly approaching, and we look forward to seeing all of you!
Touring the CityToday was probably the most tiring day we have experienced in Krasnoarmeysk, but it was also one of the most interesting. We met with the Councilwoman and the deputy mayor this morning. They presented us with some gifts and we did the same for them. After our conversation with them, they brought in some of the Pioneer Scout crafts to show/sell us. They are proud of what their children have made, and rightfully so. The crafts were beautiful! After that, we visited the Krasnoarmeysk orphanage. We visited there last year, and only about 14 children live in this facility. The staff is very kind, and they desire for us to do a camp there in the future. This may be a good project for the Krasnoarmeysk congregation. They also remembered Phil's "air trumpet," and I think they were pretty disappointed that none of us could reproduce that sound. The councilwoman did mention all the people on last year's team and how she missed them.
In the afternoon, we visited both of the orphanages we have been working with this week. I also have neglected to mention the wonderful meals being prepared and served by our hostesses. The ladies are staying in Lydia's home and the men are styaing in Tamera's home. We have been treated to homemade Ukrainian cuisine, and they are skilled cooks. No one will be losing any weight this trip!
Tonight, David Fleming taught a great lesson about the New Testament Church. We are also preparing to head back to Donetsk tomorrow evening. Our flight to Athens leaves at 5:30 a.m. on Friday morning! We have been blessed with a wonderful experience here, although it was a new adventure. Hopefully, we will be able to post before we return. If not, thank you and we hope to see you soon.
Mt. Juliet Church of Christ
1940 N. Mt. Juliet Road
Mt. Juliet, TN 37122
Mt.Juliet, TN 37121-0248
Sunday Early Worship: 8AM
Sunday Bible Study: 9:15AM
Sunday Late Worship: 10:15AM
Night Worship: 6PM
Wednesday Bible Study: 7PM