Greetings from the Walthall’s in Athens, Greece. Or, as the Apostle Paul would say, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The key word for us since we’ve been in Greece is “beginnings.” We arrived in Greece late August armed with a purpose and a call to bring God’s word to the people of Athens through the means of BSF. We are so excited to be here and to begin a new work for the Lord. Of course, none of this would be possible without God’s hand on us making a way as we try to find our way around, find an apartment, enroll our daughter in school, and just try to adjust to a new way of life in a foreign country.
We have so much to be thankful for as we see God working and orchestrating events and people to make things happen. We have indeed found an apartment which we love and now feel like home. And, the Lord provided an apartment near a Metro station so we can more easily get around Athens without a car.
We love being in Athens, but like any new place and new culture, we are learning to adjust. There are 2 key phrases we keep reminding ourselves of; 1) “it’s not wrong, but just different,” and 2) from the Wizard of Oz, “we’re not in Kansas anymore.” One major adjustment has been with the traffic. Since Athens is a densely populated city with what seems to be more cars than people, it can be a dangerous place for a pedestrian. There have been a few “close calls,” but God has protected us from our ignorance to the “rules” of traffic.
However, there are so many things we really love about living in Athens. The food, the traveling neighborhood markets which bring fresh produce to your local area, the weather (dry arid climate with some rain in the fall and winter), the metro system, the historical setting of Athens with the Acropolis and the Plaka (a busy tourist area with small shops and lots of sidewalk cafes or restaurants near the Acropolis) are just a few of the things that make Athens so special. It seems like each day we are here, our love for Athens, the people and the culture continues to grow with our understanding and assimilation.
When we arrived in Athens, the women’s prayer was already intact, but nothing yet for the men had been established. However, like with any new “beginning” it means starting small, but God has been faithful to provide. As of late October, we now can praise the Lord in providing us with one man (Sam from Nigeria) who will join Guenter and me in praying for the future of a men’s BSF group in Athens. Small beginnings does not bother me, because all great movements usually begins with just one or a few. And, in our case, it’s not just one or even a few, but a few + ONE = Unlimited. What good work God has called us to begin, He will see it to completion. For with God, nothing is impossible.
While each day generally brings some challenge for us, I continue to rely on God’s word and his faithfulness to provide. I said, before I came to Greece, that I’d climb any mountain if I knew it was what God wanted me to do. Well, we’ve had a few hills to climb along the way, but God has been faithful to get us over each bump. Psalm18:29 has been a verse I continue to remind myself of, “With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.” All I can say is, we are here to do God’s work and thankfully, He will carry us up and over any wall or any hill that comes our way.
Well, like any work for God, we need your prayers. Here are some specific things you can pray for us:
1. God to continue to draw new men to the prayer group.
2. Continue success for the Women’s BSF introduction presentations.
3. Continued assimilation into the culture, including learning the language.
4. Successful “turn around” to Albania before our 90 day visa expires (on or about Nov. 21)
5. Caitlin (our 17 yr old daughter) would be a Godly example to her non Christian friends at school.
Grace, peace and God’s blessing to you all,
Joyfully and thankfully serving the Lord in Athens, Greece
Gary and Claudia Walthall