The last couple of days have been very eventful. We started distribution of God’s word!!
Yesterday was such a great day. We had the small village of Aminteo. Our two vans started right after lunch time, and finished in about 4.5 hours, distributing about 1100 bibles in this village. We had a little opposition, but for the most part it was a quiet day. In these smaller towns, the local Orthodox Church priests have an astounding amount of power in the local government as well as with the people. So most of the opposition we received was from some of the more solid orthodox people that wouldn’t even listen to us or give us the time of day.
Today, we were in the larger village of Ptolemaida, where we split up into zones with about 20 other vehicles.
Today after distribution, we learned that the Jehovah’s Witness faith has been incredibly aggressive in some of these small villages, and as soon as we walk up they think we are with them. The Operation Joshua team has taught us a few phrases in Greek to help us in situations like this, but sometimes they don’t even believe us. When we say, “Óchi Iechová!” Which means “not jehovah”, they don’t believe us.
Moments like these have been incredibly disheartening for some of the teams, but nothing like it is to the Greek evangelicals. We heard a Greek woman tonight share a story where she came over to a group of distributors and an older woman who was yelling at them in Greek, “I have my finger on the button to call the police!” The Greek evangelical woman began apologizing for making her upset, but also let her know that we were not with the Jehovah’s, that we believed in the Holy Trinity, and that we were only wanting to give her the Word of the Lord. Finally though, when the Greek woman believed the evangelical woman, she asked for an apology, because the Jehovah’s had been so insistent on passing out their incredibly heretical message, how they come door to door so consistently, and the Greek people are just so fed up with it. The evangelical woman again apologized for this, but assured her they we were only interested in giving her her own copy of the Word of The Lord in her language, so she could study it.
It’s been interesting hearing things like this. Some people’s reactions are, “This can’t be approved by the Orthodox Church, they never give us anything! Why would they say it was okay for you to give us these bibles?” Or, “Why are you doing this? Who is paying you?” I find it sad that these people are used to not ever being fed or pursued at all, and that they just assumed we have some other motives for what we are doing when we are simply wanting to give them a bible in their language!
Please be in prayer for the people of Greece. We have found this the most difficult thing to deal with so far. But not all is bad. We have heard many stories of people sharing their personal testimonies with some of the Greek people, and breakthrough happening.
Also, one of our younger distributors, Ethan Atkinson, shared a cool moment. He and his mom were passing bibles out down a street. They passed a couple of kids who were playing outside. After a couple of houses Ethan looked back and saw the kids run over and grab a couple of the bags that had the bibles in them. One of the kids pulled the bible out, opened it up and began reading it. After a few more seconds he then looked at his friend, and started shaking it and jumping up and down, and he then held it close to his heart and closed his eyes and was saying something in Greek! This affected Ethan greatly, and it did all of us when he shared this story.
The word of God is getting to people and they are so thankful for it, as are we. Please continue to pray for us, and for the safety of our entire team as we travel to these villages doing this work.
Love you all.