For those who are in to the details.... (if you are not skip to the end of this blog to read 'the other stuff")
Depart May 1st, Saturday from NCCTK @ 2:45 A.M. arriving Seatac 5:30 AM. leaving Seatac flight 958 at 8:13 AM. (for complete flight itinerary see earlier blog entry)
Arrive May 2 at 4;35 PM in Thessalonki and travel to Strumica. Eat a light dinner and head to bed!!
Monday May 3rd: Morning Orientation & tour of sports plex center
Get started working
Lunch (around 1pm)
Dinner-- likely with anyone who wants to meet us.
Walk through the city and explore
work all day
Attend any church services or sports games that are happening.
May 9th Sunday (mother's day)
A exploration/tourist Day
Attend church pm.
May 10th Monday
finish up our work project
dinner with all our new friends
May 11 leave for Greece, spend afternoon in Philippi!!
Stay at Hotel in Kavala
May 12th, leave 5AM from Hotel to Thessalonki
Depart Thessalonki Airport 8:05 AM
arriving Seatac 8;10 pm
By our calculations I believe Strumica is about 15 hours ahead of us....
The Other Stuff:
We had our last Team meeting yesterday before we leave. Let me introduce the team and what little bit i know about them right now. :)
Kate Ryan. Fearless Leader. World traveler. A Lion personality and a passion to reach the world for Jesus.
Mike Wheatly. single dad, committed Christian, focused on growing in his faith and his walk with Jesus. A nice nice man. both Bruce and I have quickly grown to admire and enjoy him.
Don G. --the spelling and pronunciation of his last name is something I need to work on.... Formerly in construction, now a technician in a sleep lab, lively and bold personality.
Si Halbert. Painter by trade, easy going and peaceful to be around.
Audrey J. Sweet, quiet, (shy?) but with a heart for Jesus that shines in her eyes.
Wendi Fields; a zest for life, for Jesus and anything related. this will be her very first trip anywhere outside the country and she is super excited and maybe super nervous but i would bet she is not afraid!
That leave Bruce, our work team leader and me, the official recorder. Armed with laptop, camera and perhaps a video camera (if it arrives in time... I won one from focus on the family in a contest!!) i will blog daily and upload pictures to share.
We spent a time talking about the details, last minute questions and paperwork, and then spent a good time in prayer. Prayer coverage is so important. We are going into some 'hard' ground. Breaking through the barriers -- both language and spiritual will take lots of prayers so for those of you who are keeping us in prayer coverage that is our biggest request. That the hearts we encounter will be soft for receiving the word. 'Religion' is present there but not 'relationship with Jesus'.
Women are thought of as 2nd class citizens and treated as such. Domestic abuse rate is high. so is unemployment. the area we will be in is rural, agricultural and can feel 'heavy'-- oppressive?
We go with a spirit of servanthood, offering encouragement and support which is something that may be foreign to those we meet. We understand we will face some spiritual attack even this week as we finish our prep. But we fix our eyes on Jesus, author and finisher of our faith, we find our value and self worth in Jesus not in what others may think.
the Lord reminded me of the passage in Isaiah 43... when you go through the deep waters and great trouble I will be with you, When you go through rivers of difficulty you will not drown, when you walk through the fire of oppression you will not be burned up, the flames will not consume you. FOR I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL YOUR SAVIOR.
We will be navigating some strange waters, tracking through some wilderness but we have some assurance as we have our seasoned guide Kate, but much more than that as we move through spiritual territory that is new to us, whether it is frightening or full of trouble, we have the comfort and support of our Lord God walking with us. He knows the way!