Story Time with Lucas:
It was clear from the time of our arrival in Greece that this was going to be a test of faith and a walk of trust. It so happened that our ministry contacts emailed us two nights before take off, to let us know that they would no longer be there to assist us. So here we are, after almost and hour of searching, 3:30am Sunday morning in Athens. We have gotten out of the airport, out of the bus and lost in Plaka district searching for our hostel. Cheyenne has fallen sick and is mostly incoherent and I am directionally challenged leading a group a 15 foreigners through the dimly lit streets across from the temple of olympian Zeus.
As you have heard by now we have been looking for the better part of an hour for our lodging. I’m facing graffitied back allies saying “I’m not bringing this team down there.” So we all stop on the corner to pray. I know it may sound cliche’, which only proves how faithful Jesus is, but after a murmured group prayer, a young greek man comes around the corner. (3:30am). I ask him “Excuse me, do you speak English?” “Yeah man, my mom is from Chicago, my dad is from greece and she teaches English in the city. What’s up? My name is Nikko.” he replied. At this point I’m discerning Nikko’s current state. Is he intoxicated? Are his eyes steady? Do I trust him to know where our team is staying? I really felt like it was not just a chance encounter. I told him what we were looking for. He was kind enough to pull it up on his phone and lead us to the place. When we came across the ally we were supposed to turn at he stopped and said, “Well, I’m not white. Let’s try it.”
And there it was! Hotel Dioskrous. Our new home for almost a month. We realized that we had walked by the building 20 minutes earlier, but the sign light had been burned out. We thanked our new friend Nikko. Told him of why we were visiting Athens. How we wanted to help not only refugees but encourage the locals in Athens with the love and truth of Christ. We prayed over him before he left and our paths never crossed again. But God was already showing us that He would be guiding this trip.
Three and a half days later: We’ve made it. Not only that, we have played music in the central square, prayed for many individuals and gotten to know our surroundings a little bit. But as you know from the previous story, we still don’t have any contacts. We know that there are many places to volunteer, but we are still trying to connect the dots. Or at least find some dots to connect. We found a refugee home on Facebook and deciding to send a small group to go check it out. Cheyenne, Akram, Nick, Lauren and myself. The next day Akram and I returned with Andrew and Aaron to help prepare and serve the morning meal. Having conversations with the refugees that we were serving. Then as we returned we stopped at what is called Victoria square, where many refugees were living. Victoria square would become a place we went often. We made friends with the young men there and would visit and talk with them regularly.
So, after stopping at the square we hopped on the metro to go back to our hostel. There was a young man on the subway that asked me where I was from. I could tell by his accent that we was American as well. I asked him, “Do you happen to work with YWAM?” “Yeah I do! I’m from YWAM Orlando and we are an outreach team of 18.” he replied. “Thank God. Do you happen to have some ministry contacts? Because everything kind of fell through for us so we are really just trusting that God is going to set things up for us as clearly he did in us meeting on the subway.” He responded by giving me a whole list of wonderful contacts. And through that meeting is how we ended up working at the ports, sorting in the olympic stadium warehouse, partnering with a church that was providing food, clothes, toiletries and bibles to people and many other things.
But those stories are for another time. God is faithful! And He works through all of you who were praying for us.