An Unlikely Phone Call
Since Vassilios began pastoring in Athens, he’s wanted to take the gospel into another Athens neighborhood where the gospel has had only limited impact. A few months ago, he ignored a phone call that had come from an unrecognized number. Though he normally does not return such calls, he was impressed to return this one. When the woman on the other side picked up, she insisted that she had never placed that call! Then something amazing happened.
Instead of ending the call, the two introduced themselves and realized they were actually acquaintances from many years ago. This woman, who had dropped out of church, had just opened a restaurant in the neighborhood the congregation had prayed about. She asked Vassilios whether a Bible study for that neighborhood, held at her restaurant, would be possible. Coincidence? Not when God is involved!
For generations, the cultural norm in Greece was that the poor served the rich. As the church in Greece takes steps to serve the needs of those living in poverty, this cultural norm is replaced by God’s love. “We began working with an organization that has a drug rehabilitation program. So twice a week in the evenings they come; we have the basement reserved, with hot chocolate in the winter, a chance to eat, clean themselves, and join the program to get off the street. The building used to be dark in the evenings; now twice a week, there is light shining in the neighborhood.”
As the church seeks to address social concerns such as drug abuse, lack of education, and limited child care, doors are opened to the spread of the gospel. Doors have also been opened to minister to Indonesian Greeks. Once each month, a local group of Indonesian Greeks hold a unity service with Vassilios and the Church of God in Athens. Vassilios preaches in Greek, his message is translated into the language of the Indonesians, and those who have never heard the gospel in their own language listen intently. Now, more doors have opened. As a result of these unity services, Vassilios was recently invited to visit Indonesia—the most populous Muslim country in the world—and preach to a crowd of fifteen thousand!
“The more we move forward, the more needs come to the forefront, and the more excited we are,” Vassilios concludes. “The potential for God’s work is great. Please pray for us.”