Posts Tagged ‘free bookmarks’

Walking Uphill to the Traditional Greek Village of Kéfalos

August 1, 2012

So enthusiastic was I about being in the sun that I made the mistake of getting too sunburned on our first days in Kos! Soon I felt much better but we still decided not to go to the beach and so on the third day, armed with plenty of water, we walked steadily uphill towards the large medieval village of Kéfalos. I discovered that the latter was actually the first capital of Kos, named Astypalaia. After an earthquake destroyed the town in 412BC, it was abandoned and Kos town (today’s capital) was founded by the survivors.

Along the dusty road we were passed by all sorts of transport, including motorbikes and those beach quads which people seem to hire here. I had purchased a straw hat enroute, in a little shop where an elderly lady, sitting at the door and dressed all in black accepted one of my John 3v16 Greek bookmarks: “Οὕτω γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ Θεὸς τὸν κόσμον, ὥστε τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ τὸν μονογενῆ ἔδωκεν, ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν μὴ ἀπόληται ἀλλ’ ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον.”

She, of all the people we had ever met made an impression on me; I was very touched by how grateful and enthusiastic she was about it. She did not speak English at all but a younger man behind the counter looked at the bookmark and said: “You are Christian?” This gave us an opportunity to talk to him and somehow I felt more than the warmth of the sun as we left that shop.

Soon we were walking along a more rural area where the parched scenery was relieved only by the beauty of vibrant pink bougainvillea, growing wild by the roadside. After a while I began to feel quite ill in the heat of the day and I was just praying for some shelter from the sun when we spotted it… the little Greek Orthodox Church at the top of some steps. It was worth the climb to be able to find an open door to a cool place with a seat, where we drank most of our remaining water. As we sat there in that little church, I took in our silent surroundings… Greek icons, revered here as if they were the very saints themselves. Coincidentally my daily reading was in Jeremiah at the time: “The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.” (Jeremiah 7v18) Although Orthodoxy denies that the icons themselves are objects of worship, there is evidence that the regard in which they are held is certainly tantamount to worship.

Apart from small Muslim and Jewish minorities in Greece, as well as very tiny numbers who follow other sects and cults, most of the population adhere to the Greek Orthodox Church. While not accepting the pope of Rome as the spokesman for Christianity, the Greek Orthodox clergy also oppose the Reformation and Evangelical Christianity. It is sad that much of the Greek population today have still never been presented with the true gospel of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

After exploring the ruined medieval castle in Kefalos with its few remaining walls overlooking the beauty of the azure sea below, we strolled into the sleepy village, largely untouched by time.

How good it was to have had the opportunity to leave the little bookmarks in the Greek Orthodox Churches that we visited and in Kéfalos and other villages; yet I feel in my heart that this region is so spiritually needy. I love the people of Greece and its island and wish that they could be reached with tracts in their own language that they could read and absorb. Most of all, I pray that precious souls would come to a knowledge of sins forgiven and a firm assurance of knowing my Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour.

Embarking on our Journey to the Greek Island of Kos

July 24, 2012

I’ve never been a ‘morning person,’ particularly when the morning in question consists of frantic weighing of suitcases and sleepily wondering whether my husband and I had remembered everything – both for the journey ahead and for those we had left at home. It was a quiet, cool grey dawn as we drove along the motorway to the airport. ‘Yes,’ I thought, ‘it would be good to get a break from Ireland’s torrential rain for a while!’

For some reason I was selected for a random thorough check by airport security. “Oh, don’t worry,” laughed the lady who searched me, “this morning we’re just selecting every twentieth person.”

Later as the aircraft accelerated along the runway and rose shakily into the grey mist, I thought about what is termed in aviation as ‘the point of no return’ and I immediately thought of those words in Hebrews 9v27: “… it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement.”  Mankind, in this life alone, can make His peace with God. There is no chance to put things right either with our Creator or our fellowmen after death…

I thought about the ill-feeling which can develop between neighbours and even family members and remembered two men I had known in my life. They had stopped speaking to each other; I don’t recall much about the reason why now or whether they had ever been reconciled to each other before they had passed their respective ‘points of no return.’ I certainly hoped so. “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” (Col. 3v13&14)

Yet, it is a fact that only those who have come to trust the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour can ‘put on charity,’ for we can only be forgiving in His strength.

Later in London’s Gatwick Airport we had some hours to wait before our flight to Kos and I heard a lady’s voice over the intercom: “Ladies and gentlemen, you are invited to a service of Christian worship in the south terminal, starting at…”

“Well now,” said my husband, “wouldn’t that be a good way to pass some time, since we have quite a while before the gates open for our next flight? After that we can have lunch.”

I agreed with him and we made our way down to this ‘service of Christian worship.’

We were disappointed, however, with the outcome. As I expected there were very few people there but that wasn’t the disappointing part, “for where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them…” (Matt. 18v20)

The service was held in a communal worship centre which is also used by other denominations and religious sects. Amongst those who attended were some enthusiastic young people who had come to witness with Christian literature to those who were attending the London Olympics and I did find this encouraging. However, I felt that the lady who spoke at this service was an advocate of ecumenism and I also felt uncomfortable with the other religious symbols on display there, for… “what communion hath light with darkness?” (2Cor. 6v14)

Later I purchased something in one of the airport shops and the assistant put my purchase into a ‘London News Company’ bag. I looked with interest at this bag which depicted the London skyline, complete with all sorts of religious symbols, including the mosque. For some reason the tune of “Rule Britannia” came into my head, with the words… “Britons never never never shall be slaves…”

‘Slaves,’ I thought, ‘but many are slaves now… slaves to the concept of political correctness.’

Our flight to Kos was smooth and the hours passed quickly – but not uneventfully! I thank the Lord for those opportunities He gives us to reach our fellow passengers within the confines of aircrafts, or ships, or trains – and on the journey of life itself.

Later as our taxi driver, in the heat of the dark night, sped along strange new roads which consisted of hairpin bends overlooking dangerous cliffs, I dreamed of home so far away now. Our driver accepted my ‘John 3v16’ Greek bookmark with a smile, as he helped us out with our cases.

A moment later a friendly face greeted us at our accommodation. “Welcome home!” he said kindly, as he shook our hands warmly. Yes, this would be ‘home’ for a couple of weeks and I prayed that warm night, as I fell asleep to the tune of a thousand crickets… ‘thank you Lord for your goodness, for safety, for your mercy and for the opportunities that you will give us in this place…”