Greetings! This post comes to you from Athens, Greece - our new "homebase" until Rome. So thankful we all made it here safely and healthily for the most part (though I am without a voice - random, I know - but the "illness" I would most prefer if I have to get sick, so no biggie). We are staying at a beautiful evangelical (the only thing like it in the whole country - most people are Orthodox) camp just outside Athens. Greece is absolutely beautiful. It is 70% mountains, and every one is breathtaking! I am also looking forward to a ferry ride to one of its numerous islands later this week - such an amazing country!!
A couple days ago we were awarded a glorious "free afternoon" which came a the perfect time as we were all tired and weary. I spent my afternoon swimming in the Agean Sea, walking along the beach picking up stones/shells while praying aloud, and laying out on the beach at the base of Mt. Olympus in the sun with my girlfriends reading and eating a double caramel Magnum bar (my fav thing about Europe thus far). After a nice dinner our group went out to the beach for a time of worship. Here's an excerpt from my journal that night:
"We sang a few songs and just marveled at God's glory as we looked to the Agean Sea on one side, the majestic Mt Olympus on the other, and an intensive lightning storm all around and over us as if we were nested in a giant stormy snowglobe. The lightning would flash and illuminate the sky - majestic and powerful. One line from one of the songs we sang was, "Lord of all creation, of water earth and sky, the heavens are your tabernacle, glory to the LORD on high". It was perfect - as I looked to the water, earth, and sky all SCREAMING the glory and holiness of God. Beautiful. Our professor asked us to pick up a smooth stone from the sand. We are each a stone - smoothed, molded, chiseled down by contact with other stones, by rough environments and situations. Though we have two weeks left on this trip, I want to make it a goal of mine to smooth other stones and be smoothed by them in my interactions in the coming days. May I not leave these holy lands unchanged. For it is impossible to experience God and not be altered - to come to the altar of God without alteration".
-One of the worst things I can imagine is life without hope
-Faith over fear
-I am God's workmanship - not flawed, though fallen. But redeemed. Thanks be to God.
God bless. Love to all of you from Athens, Greece. XOXO