Fifteen years ago in 2003, we were enjoying table fellowship time with the Omonia congregation in our small fellowship room. It was a very hot August afternoon and the children were playing and enjoying the afternoon in our building’s balcony in 40c heat. It was then when we thought surely, we can find a place close to the sea and enjoy a few cooler days in fellowship with the Lord and with each other. Most of the families back then and now could not afford a holiday on their own.
God honored the dream and desire we had. For the last fifteen years we enjoy four days close to the Aegean Sea in the grounds of Ancient port of Cencres in Corinth. God has provided every need and has gifted His people, those who can afford, to sponsor those who cannot. Each and every time God has met us in every need and has graced us with blessings we have not dreamed of.
The purpose of this gathering is to worship our Lord and strengthen the relationships with each other. We were happy to have more refugee families with their children. We were so thankful to God for His provision to watch them play, laugh and enjoy those few days as they had forgotten all about the war, the cruel journey to arrive in Greece and all they have been through.
We prayed late at night, early in the morning, ate meals in holy fellowship, played games, laughed until we were hurting, watched the stars at night in the clearest of skies, talked about life, this life and the life we will enjoy together in eternity.
No photography or video can capture the joy, hope, peace, love and kindness these days included. Besides of our new brothers and sisters who accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior the second most important event is that the Omonia Church was homogenised and became ONE, especially following the addition of our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters. Everyone now knows and loves each other with a holy love and welcomes with holy kisses each other at our small church building in the city of Athens.
We enjoyed worship, lessons from the word of God, We had two small discussion groups, one for men and one for women. Three different age groups of children classes and finally good food, swimming pool dives and Aegean Sea swims.
With no exception everyone testifies that these days spent in our God’s and each other’s company is celestial and a slice of Heaven. They often say…oh this is what Heaven will be like!
This year was again a huge victory. This year’s theme, “The Harvest” Revelation 7:9
Ten different nations were represented: Egypt, Syria, U.S.A, Scotland, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, Greece, Ukraine and Hong Kong. Ten different languages! One hundred and five participants, ages 15 days old to 83 years old! Seven lectures were given in Greek, Arabic, Kurdish and English presented by four different teachers. For the first time a lecture was presented in Arabic and translated in English and Greek. Thirty-eight children attended the nine children’s classes and various activities Most importantly, twelve souls accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and will see Heaven one day.
The common language was the language of the Gospel. We experienced a Pentecost day moment. The very theme became visible before our eyes, with our God gathering His people from every nation and language.
The promise and purpose we had mentioned to everyone is that following these four days you will be changed forever. You will grow closer to our God and closer to each other. At our final day this was a common witnessing. We were all changed forever. Praise God!
We pray and have faith that God will gift us with one more year, June 2019, of this amazing experience. We plan to add one extra day and start the retreat on Tuesday instead of Wednesday. Theme and location to be announced.
We invite you to join us next year!