This short term mission trip came about because one of our newest Missionaries, Agyris Petrou, inquired about us sending a team over. When I asked what the purpose/mission of the trip would be he simple stated “Getting to know us.” Obviously we didn’t just sit around eating Souvlaki and Gyros, but in many ways building our relationship with Argyris and his family was a central part of our team’s mission. Relational connection is important because as Argyris said “if you want to be able to support me more than financially you have to know me.” Before going on this trip we knew Argyris enough to believe he was a good investment of Uptown’s missions funds and after spending lots of personal time with him we are even more excited to be able to support the Petrou Family and the ministry that Argyris is doing
Here is an overview of many of the ministries we worked with:
Before going to Greece we knew that Argyris was involved with a group that was interested in planting evangelical churches around Greece, but we did not know how established this network was. Our work with the church planters and the mission churches was one of the most helpful and successful parts of our trip. They loved hearing about Uptown’s history and philosophy and they really benefitted from the strategic planning sessions. The team got to give missions moments in each of the worship services they attended and I also had the opportunity to preach at two of the church plants (these were my first experience with preaching with an interpreter.)
Damaris House (mercy ministry to women)
Argyris’s wife, Dina, is in the beginning phases of greatly expanding a ministry focused on rescuing women from prostitution and sex trafficking. by getting them safe housing and helping them establish means to support themselves. Dina has years of experience from working with women in these situations and she is very excited to take her ministry to a new level. Getting to help this team clarify their mission, vision and next steps towards getting things up and running was a true joy! We think that this ministry will be a great opportunity for women at Uptown to get plugged into during future short-term missions trips.
Incubator (a college student intern program)
The church planting board has put together a one-year internship program for students of the Greek Bible College. This ministry, called “The Incubator,” is much like our internship program. Our team had the opportunity to talk about the joys, struggles and strategies of church planting at one of their weekly meetings. Although Adam, Ken and I did most of the talking one of the church planters that hosted the meeting said that Cherith’s words were the most impactful!
One morning we had the opportunity to go help one of the church plants serve Refugees. It was surreal pulling up to a building that had recently been used for the Athens Olympics that was now being used to house Refugees. Soon after we arrived a bus full of Refugees was dropped off. We welcomed them, helped them settle in, handed out food and toiletries and sorted clothes for those in need. This group was mostly made up of people from Afghanistan who had walked for 2 months before getting on a boat and setting off for Greece. This was astounding to hear and it was an honor to be the second group in Greece to welcome them to safety.
The Greek Bible College
While we were in Greece we were housed at the Greek Bible College, located in Pikermi. It was a great home base for our work which was spread out from the East coast of southern Greece to Athens. While we were there, we had the opportunity to speak at Chapel and share about Uptown’s vision for Church Planting.
Our team had a debrief meeting this past week and we were all very encouraged by what the Lord did in and through us during our time in Greece! We are excited about the many opportunities to provide further support for the work God is establishing there.
Author: Rev. Dave Kulp