“Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few..”
– Matthew 9:37
This last week, our team spent a lot of our ministry time at several refugee camps in Athens. As some of the YWAM United leaders visited a camp to request permission to host an event there this week, refugees came in and out, and about 90 percent of those who passed through recognized the leaders from the previous weekend’s event (the Jesus Film showing and meal). The refugees welcomed our leaders as guests in their home, and seeing the refugees’ positive response, a camp official granted permission to do the event just outside of the camp! In telling this story, one YWAM United leader spoke of the parallel with the story in Joshua 2, where Joshua and his men access Jericho because they know Rahab, who gives them a way into the city walls. Our relationships with people from last week’s events unlocked opportunities for us the next!
Early in the week, we visited the camp to meet the refugees there, playing soccer with the children and cleaning up a parking lot covered with broken glass and trash where many of the children play. On Thursday, we returned with about forty other YWAMers to spend the afternoon outside of the camp, again doing activities with the children, like soccer and art, as a way to draw a crowd for our main event.
Tred, a music and dance performance group from Northern California performed several pieces for the children and their families who gathered around the makeshift asphalt stage. Tred describes its performance as an act of spiritual warfare, dancing and drumming in worship to invite the presence of the Lord into a place. Tred’s final piece, they explained, was one of joy, and as the whole crowd joined them in clapping, you could sense a shift in the atmosphere that was more joyful and hopeful than when we had first arrived.
Many in this crowd and those we interacted with at the camp were children. As one of our leaders drew and colored with one little girl from the camp, she was able to share with her about Jesus’ love for the girl and parts of the gospel. The little girl then began to draw crosses with hearts around them!
We noticed that many of the children play in a way reflecting the violence that they have possibly witnessed. One boy in particular we encountered was harsh with the other children, pushing them away and trying to hack at them with tree branches. Although it would have been easier to walk away and leave him to play on his own, the Lord gave us His heart for him and kids like him. As we showed this little boy the love of Jesus, playing with him and even giving him a hug, his whole demeanor changed. He began to smile and even gave one of us some candy as a gift. Even when we do not preach the gospel in words, we carry the gospel and preach it through our actions reflecting the love of Christ.
One of our first days at the camp, some volunteers had met a little toddler boy who struggled to walk because of a serious wound in his leg. The doctors said his leg would likely have to be amputated. Many prayed for healing, aware of the situation–but also, many of us, even unaware of this little boy or his need, had been asking the Lord to heal many at the camp… Well the last time our volunteers saw the little boy this week, the boy’s wound was completely healed!!
On Friday, a majority of YWAM United, including some of our team, went to a major tourist and shopping area in central Athens, to do evangelism. Tred performed here and a large crowd gathered to watch. One of the guys on our team met a man who is homeless and was walking on crutches. He asked to pray for the man to be healed, and then the man asked for prayer for his heart to be healed! As our teammate shared the gospel with him, the man realized his need for spiritual healing in addition to healing of his physical needs. Our teammate prayed for the man who was then able to dance and walk as he hadn’t been able to for over five years! The man also prayed to receive salvation!
We have a little over a week left in Greece, and we want to finish strong. Please continue praying for the new believers that have come into Christ’s Kingdom since we have been here in Greece. Pray that they would continue to heal physically, spiritually, emotionally, and that we would continue to see more people step into this new life and freedom as well!