Larissa, Greece :: Reconciliation Project :: 2 Corinthians 5

7.11.2006

Kalispera (Good day!)

Right now, it is about 1:30 am (Larissa time). I miss you all.

SUNDAY
Sunday, we had an amazing 2.5 hour long worship service. There were about 40 people there to listen to Brian Jobe (with Pastor Georges translating) preach a message about marriage from Ephesians 5. There were many families that day. I feel the Lord really spoke through His word to the hearts of all who were there. We spent much time in prayer and singing. It was very sweet (and reminiscient of what I think Heaven may sound like if we have different languages) to hear all of the believers there praising God!

Afterward, most of the families took us into their homes, fed us, and made us feel welcome. Some of us went to a restaurant called Yiayias ( Greek for Grandma), where Chamo (one of the father’s of one of the American families here in Larissa) ordered all of the specialty dishes for the whole table. This food was amazing. In fact, every meal I have eaten has been phenomenal. I will try to find a Greek cookbook to bring back to the States for all of you who can cook me something!!

The night ended with a fantastic World Cup Final between Italy and France. It was one of the most exhilarating games I’ve watched yet. It was a good night for us spiritually as well. We spent some time in prayer for all of those who would come out for the tavli (backgammon) tournament. We asked God that He would open doors for us, that we could speak the mystery of the gospel.

As I laid down Monday for my 3:30 siesta, I prayed for the worship service at Ephesus :: that God would be glorifed, that His people would praise Him with complete abandon, and that each of you all would grow in the Word. Also, I offered up some prayers for the youth group at Ephesus that evening as I laid down. I trust God answered according to His riches in Christ Jesus.

MONDAY & TUESDAY
These past two days have been full. From the time we roll out of our cots until the time we roll in them (both for siesta and bedtime), we are all going. Everyone, both Greeks and Americans, has been giving so much to make this happen. I can tell you that, if you have been praying that we would be unified, God has answered your prayer.

We have had the first 2 rounds of the tavli tournament. There have been some interesting people. We met Yannis, who owns a café in downtown Larissa. He is a professional backgammon player. He invited us back to his café Monday evening to have some of the (I’m not exaggerating) best ice cream I have ever eaten. We have seen about 75 people come out for the tournament so far. This has provided us a few opportunities to talk with people about spiritual things. Tonight (Tuesday), Christos, a Larissa native (who was here 2 years ago when the mission team came), professed Christ. It is so awesome. God is answering our prayers. He is able to do exceedingly more than we can ask or imagine through His power that is at work within us (Haley, thanks for the reminder in the note about that verse. It was timely). Also, there were 3 Gypsy (Roma) teenagers who professed Christ this afternoon. I do not know a lot of details about either because I was not there. Please pray for all 4 of these people, that they may grow strong in the Lord, that the evil one would be kept away, and that there would be someone here to come alongside them and disciple them.

A SIDE NOTE
As I left for Greece, I thought that I would be away from students for a while, which kind of saddened me (I love you guys!). However, when I arrived, I found that there were a lot of students that are very committed to the Church here in Larissa. Some of their names are Harris, Mecrie, Vesillis, Ares, and Oriste. I have been able to come alongside and serve with them a lot this week. It has truly been a blessing. These students love their Savior and prove it by their actions. They have been such an encouragement to me. Also, they have really helped me in learning some of the language. To all the boys back at Ephesus, Se Prokalo Kota! It means “I challenge you, chicken”. Enjoy that one for a while.

I am sorry that I have not been able to update daily. We are slammed for Jesus’ glory here. I would have it no other way. It is nearing the end of our trip. Please pray that we would continue to be sold out vessels for however God would use us. We need His strength to serve, His wisdom in discernment, and His love to cover our sins.

REMINDER
Recall Titus 3 :: We were once foolish (living lives of hatred, various lust and pleasures, malice, envy). But when the kindness of God appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds of righteousness which we have done, but according to His great mercy.

I love each of you and celebrate God’s blessing in your life. Colleen, continue steadfastly in the faith. Serve God by His strength. I hope that you have been being stretched for God’s glory so that when you return to the States, you can encourage the body around you.

Dad, Mom, Students at Ephesus, and Haley:: thanks for the encouraging notes. God has spoken mightily through them.

Please pray for the remaining two days of the tavli tournament. God could move mightily according to the prayers of His saints. May we be found prayerful.

May our Redeemer alone be praised,
Robb D.

7.08.2006

Mathetes :: Greek for Disciple

We made it to Larissa! We were welcomed by our brothers Antonis and Rob! Only God would know that there would be another Rob (with only one "b") to welcome us! How awesome is that. So, he is "single b" and I am "double b".

God has already prepared us for the "fluidity" we need for the duration of our trip to Athens. After our short delay in Savannah (because of weather, which God controls), we left there for Dulles (in Washington D.C.). We arrived there at 11:15pm Wednesday night to find that there was not another flight (that would help us get to Greece) until 6pm Thursday evening. By this time, it was around 1 pm. We were loners in the Dulles airport until about 4:15. This is when we were told to be back at the ticket counter to try to get on standby for a flight to Zurich. To make the story short, we, by God's grace and plan, made it on the fligh to Zurich, Switzerland, which took us to Frankfurt, Germany. Then, from Frankfurt, we flew directly to Athens. The travel has been amazing. We were able to meet many interesting people on the planes and in the airports. We were able to go to another country (Switzerland) that we did not expect. God used it all to bring our team closer together. We were able to spend a lot of time talking and dealing with a bit of stress. Glenn, I realized through this that The Amazing Race reality TV show would be too much on me. We ended up getting home to The Christian Center in Larissa around 11:30 pm Friday night. We were met with loving arms from brothers and sisters who love the Lord and act like it as well as a full meal: chicken, rice, fruit, Fanta (orange drink).

Today (Saturday), we began our mission. We began the day with a short devotion from the book of Acts: how we (Americans and Greeks) are united, giving, and devoted to our Lord through the Holy Spirit. We spent around 30 minutes placing posters around Larissa on street lights for the 2nd Annual Larissa Tavli (backgammon) tournament. It was amazing how much joy each of us had while putting up these posters, hoping that God would "open to us a door so that we can make known the mystery of the gospel of Jesus Christ, that we would know how we ought to speak to each one." We broke into our specific task teams: Tavli tournament, Children's Program (like VBS), and seminars.

Two seminars took place today. The first was on leadership: what it means to be a leader (humility, service, vision, committment, integrity, and unity). The second seminar was on discipleship (what is a disciple, the Word in discipleship, the cost of discipleship: my section, and how to disciple). The teaching from the Scriptures has been amazing. It has been like 1 Thes. 2:13 which says that "we also constantly thank God that when you received the Word of God, you received it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the Word of God which is at work in your life."

Tomorrow, we will have our weekly worship service. We will be singing songs to our Jesus, celebrating Holy Communion, and hearing from the Holy Word of God. The sermon, preached by Brian Jobe, will be on the Family. Please pray that God, through His word and Holy Spirit, will change lives forever. Please pray that God would save souls tomorrow. Act out on what Brother Mose taught us last week, that we should be faithful prayers.

We have internet access in house at the Christian Center so I will be able to provide daily (maybe) updates on how our awesome God is at work here in Larissa, through His chosen vessels.

For all of my soccer buds (Sam, Max, William, and Haley...sort of...), we are watching the consolation game of the World Cup tonight on the big screen in the church. Tomorrow evening, we will be watching the Final in one of the common squares.

I love each of you. You, through God's working and plan, have poured into my life what has been necessary to equip me for this work.

Be godly, steadfast, and immovable. Continue to pray for Colleen and Brandon.

by grace through Him,
double B

7.02.2006

All Who Desire To Live Godly Shall Suffer Persecution

I was reading some e-mail correspondence from Greece to our group in the states. In a discussion about the outreach tavli (backgammon) tournament, one of the servants at the Christian Center wrote this,


Something we need to be careful with is that we have some limits. The posters (about the tavli tournament) say that CRT organizes the tournament with the Municipality. Our name is Central Rescue Team (CRT), which is an organization we created for this reason: to cooperate easily with both the Municipality and the people we meet. We should be careful because if the fanatic orthodox people find out that CRT is actually the Christian Center, it will be difficult to go on with the cooperation with the municipality. We believe that God has a plan for CRT and we already started to understand part of it. We'll explain more when you come. Still, we are going to meet people, ask them what they believe about God and help them get to know Him. We are talking for our personal Jesus, and not for Christian Center's Jesus!

It could very well be God’s will that we, as a team focused on sharing the POWERFUL gospel of Jesus Christ, may receive some persecution for His sake. In that case, we know that “blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 5:10). Please pray that the Lord will have His full work in our lives in this capacity and that God would “open to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ . . . that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.” (Col. 4:3,4)

I love each of you. Expect great Kingdom things from OUR FATHER.

Grace and peace,
Robb D.

6.28.2006

At the most recent meeting (Monday June 26), we received language packages to begin learning important words and phrases. Since the Greek language has its own lettering, I will use English letters to represent the Greek phrases so that you can learn along with me. The larger letters require more emphasis when speaking. The upper case I is pronounced "ee" while the uppercase E is pronounced with a short "e" sounds like "egg". ENJOY!

tI kAnis? = How are you?
polI kalA = very well
nE = Yes
Okh’I = No
kalimEra = Good day / Morning
kalispEra = Good afternoon / evening
adIo = Bye!
pOs se lEne? = What’s your name?
milAte anglikA? = Do you speak English?
me lEne Robb = My name is Robb.

Some facts about the Greek language ::
There are 7 vowel letters in the Greek alphabet, but only 5 vowel sounds
There are 17 consonant letters in the Greek alphabet, but as many as 20 primary and 6 secondary sounds. I'm not really sure what that means.

Try ordering these at the next restaurant you visit::
nerO = water
phasolAk’a = green beans
karpUzi = watermelon
orektikA = appetizers
brizOla = steak
biphtEki = hamburger
psAri = fish
tsAi = tea
kaphEs = coffee

And you know this language lesson would not be complete without a review of the numbers in Greek (since mathematics is universal)::
Ena = 1
dhIo = 2
trIa = 3
tEsera = 4
pEnde = 5
Eksi = 6
eptA = 7
oktO = 8
enEa = 9
dhEka = 10
Endheka = 11
dhOdheka = 12
ekatO = 100
Ena ekatomIrio = 1 million
Ena dhisekatomIrio = 1 billion

We also received our flight itinerary. We will be flying from Savannah to Washington D.C. to Frankfurt, Germany to Athens, Greece. From there, a bus will pick us up and take us to Larissa. The return route will be similar. We will fly out of Savannah on July 5th at 7:05pm and return to Savannah on July 15th at 6:35pm, Lord willing.

I am really thankful for each of you, my adherphOs and adherphIs (brothers and sisters) in Christ for all you do in the Kingdom. Continue steadfastly in the faith. Remain solid in the Word and prayer. Walk in the Spirit. Love each other. Protect the unity of and show passion for the Church.

Waiting for the day of the Lord,
Robb D

With The Strength God Supplies

With exactly 7 days remaining until I fly to Larissa (lar’ i ssa), the Lord is preparing my heart with a keen sense of awareness of the impact that He can make with usable vessels.

This past week at Snowbird, our memory verse was 1 Peter 4:11 which says “Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Never have I seen the reality of this verse in my life more clearly.

I am going to a country where I know no one, barely know the language, and am to be teaching believers there what it means to walk like Christ. There is no doubt in my mind that I am stoked about this chance in my life. The only way this mission will be a success is if the Holy Spirit is controlling my actions, thoughts, and speech.

Thank you so much for the prayers you have already made to the God of grace and glory. He hears when we cry to Him. Ask great and God-sized things for the people of Larissa. Ask that a revival will come as their hearts are prepared. Pray that each of the team members will be flexible, loving, and esteeming one another as better than themselves.

With the love Jesus has shown,Robb D

6.01.2006

Tuesday, May 30, I attended my second brief team meeting. Brian, the pastor that is leading the trip, and Sandy, his well-traveled trip assistant, wanted to know a little bit more about me personally. I am thankful that they took the extra opportunity to do so. We spent some crucial time in prayer for our team members, the people of Larissa, and the servants there.

We’re planning to lead in worship, drama, testimonies, backgammon, some sports, evangelism training, discipleship/small group training, ESL training, VBS, child programs during the training conference, preparing fellowship dinners, and anything else. We might even get to help with some maintenance needs of the church (i.e. painting, etc).

As is common on mission trips, each member will be involved in many areas of the trip. However, based on the team composition, I will be focused on ESL training, sports, and leading in worship. Each of us will have opportunities in the evenings to go out and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the city.

Our trip was initially scheduled for July 5-16. However, we are having a little difficulty finding plane tickets for the 5th. So, we are going to attempt to leave on July 4th. Please pray that God will work out these details. What a way to celebrate independence?! By flying to another nation to remind them of their dependence on God and the payment for sin that was made at Calvary!

for Larissa,
robb d.

5.08.2006


On Wednesday, May 3, I attended the first Greece Mission Trip meeting. Slowly, other servants in the Kingdom began to roll in. As I put faces and names together, I began to see how God has orchestrated this group. He has crafted us, quite different in personalities and interests, just perfectly.

In discussing Larissa Greece Ministry, the group of 50-60 believers that make up the church with whom we will be serving, we found that they are an inner-city ministry that have been in existence for about 10 years (see image at left). Pastor Georges (pronounced your gos...long o sounds), the leader God has called to this area, is one of the most encouraging men I have been told I will ever meet. We were told that it will be terribly bittersweet to leave Larissa because of all the warm hospitality and service we will be shown. We will develop life-long relationships with many of the believers there. This is something to which I am looking forward.

Through the meeting, we found that our primary goal while in Larissa will be to encourage the believers already living and serving there. We will be coming alongside them and equipping them to share the Gospel, to disciple new believers, and to lead small groups. As an example, during the evening, I will be partnered up with a translator. The two of us will head down to the local community squares and engage people in conversations, looking to discuss eternal, spiritual matters with them. It will be my responsibility to begin some of the conversations through the translator, but with the goal of turning the conversation over to the person and translator. Our goal will not be to do all the work, but to show the saints already living there how to do and then get out of the way. How exciting and servant-like!

We learned about much of the Greek culture and norms. Like much of Europe, the daily schedule is fairly laid back. We may wake up and eat breakfast around 9 and eat lunch around 12. However, around 2 pm, everything in the city shuts down for a full-on 2 hour SIESTA! Around 4 pm, things get cranking again until 12-1 in the morning. Much of the people spend their evening time in the community squares sipping coffee and talking about life. They are a community-oriented people.

Lastly, we were told that, if God wills, we will visit Athens & the Parthenon, Mars Hill & the Areopagus (where Paul preached), and the Agean Sea. If God chooses to save souls while we are in Larissa, we will baptize our new brothers and sisters in Christ in the Aegean Sea.

As more of the trip unfolds, please check later posts. I will include here the names of some of the other trip participants for prayer fuel. They are Brian Jobe (pastor), Terry Norris, Meghan Norris, Kristen Oddi, Sherry Oddi, Cody Tober, Deidra Tober, and Sandy Woodson.

Thank you for partnering with me in God's great adventure.

be God's,
Robb D.