Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Boat in Halkida!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Is 9:6.

The House of Worship Team, The Morning Star Team, members of the two local churches as well as many friends of the ministry gathered at the port of Halkida, on the island of Evia, Sunday evening to share the joy of the season with the islanders there.

After many years of attempting to make this event happen, this year was the first time that we were actually able to make this dream a reality.

The Morning Star was beautifully adorned with Christmas lights from the bow to the stern as well as all 20 meters high to the top of the mast! Additionally, lights and garland and bows and ornaments decorated the boat both inside and out. It was truly a shining moment for the boat and a living illustration of a traditional Greek Christmas symbol, the boat.

Many who passed by were attracted to the brightly lit boat. This gave us the perfect opportunity to explain to them the history of the boat and how it traveled from California to Greece to be used for ministry purposes.

Dressed in Santa hats, we had multiple forms of ministry happening at the same time. The band was playing on deck, servers were handing out hot chocolate and cookies on the pier, cooks were preparing warm drinks in the galley, others were offering tours of the boat and evangelism teams were conversing with people along the waterfront.

It was incredible. Such a picturesque time, such an opportunity to share the HOPE of the season-Jesus Christ!

Thank you so much for praying for this outreach. Please pray for lasting fruit from the many spiritual conversations we had that day.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Love Meals

Remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35

What a special time to share the love of Christ at our Christmas Love Meals. This past weekend we served over 700 people as we hosted three different meals for the refugees and the homeless. The hall was brightly decorated with lights and trees and stars, and the room was filled with warm cheer as many hands worked together to bless those who live out on the streets of Athens.

The festivities began Saturday afternoon as we served a gourmet chicken meal to the Greek homeless people. In addition to the warm lunch, we entertained them with Greek Christmas carols and worship songs and the story of Jesus’ birth. After the meal, the guests were served traditional Greek sweets and fruit and each were given a gift as we said goodbye.

Saturday evening the crowd swelled as the hall was filled with Farsi speaking Afghan families. Students from the American Community School entertained with Christmas songs and as a special treat, Shawn Skinner performed a fire dancing routine. The audience was enthralled and we then explained that Jesus is the Light of the World. The children received toys, the families a food bag and blanket, and the young men a coat or sleeping bag.

Monday evening our final love meal was for Arabic speaking people. The hall was full once again. Christmas cheer sang out from the stage as a band played and a skit was performed that told the story of Cain and Abel, and the sacrifice that is acceptable to God. We followed this by sharing how Jesus came to earth to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. After the dinner and desserts, the music continued and spontaneous dancing erupted around the room. This was perhaps the liveliest party of all, and a fitting end to the weekend.

Thank you to so many who helped make these festivities possible, from the coordinators, to the cooks, to the decorators, to the countless volunteers who served and cleaned up and to those of you, our friends, who gave sacrificially to provide for these gifts and meals. A very special thank you to Helping Hands Ministry for the generous donation of numerous toys that we shared with happy children!