Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Continuing our Journey to Thessaloniki Greece

We're really looking forward to the ride out to the country through the land of Macedonia...yes the land of Macedonia, doesn't that sound surreal when all these names of places in the Bible are mentioned as places that we are right now? :) So amazing to be here! The drive was incredible! I loved it! We stopped at a bridge to take some pictures and to take in the beautiful scenery around us. So beautiful! The mountain behind us, the sky above us, the river far below us and the trees around us following the road we just drove on over the bridge. It was all so breathtaking! It broke my heart when a beautiful dog came up to me crying non-stop. She lay on the ground and cried! I could see her teets were full and swollen so I wondered where her pups were and if she had lost them as it was obvious she hadn't fed them in a while. I found myself praying for this poor doggy, it was hard to watch her crying so, I had never heard a dog cry like that before. :(

As we continued the drive, we noticed many small shrine boxes along the highway. It was a curvy mountainous road where many accidents happen and when someone loses their life on the roadways, a type of shrine box is set up with a candle, a photo of the person, and a couple of their items to remember them by. It was interesting to see the wide variety of different boxes. We had passed a couple of places along the way where these boxes were made. In Canada, a cross with some flowers is often placed on the side of the road when someone loses their life in an accident but here in Greece, a small shrine box is used.

Before we ended at our final destination, Thessaloniki, we made two stops, one at the tombs of Philip the 2nd and Alexandria the 4th, which was quite interesting to see these massive old tombs but I'm not much of a museum person :)  and we had a lovely lunch there as well.  The 2nd stop was at Verea, the Biblical name is Berea, which I will talk about more below.

In Acts 17:10-15 we read of Paul in Berea:  

The Bereans Search the Scriptures

10 As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas off to Berea. On arrival, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 The people here were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, since they welcomed the message with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Consequently, many of them believed, including a number of the prominent Greek women as well as men. 13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica found out that God’s message had been proclaimed by Paul at Berea, they came there too, agitating and disturbing[a] the crowds. 14 Then the brothers immediately sent Paul away to go to the sea, but Silas and Timothy stayed on there. 15 Those who escorted Paul brought him as far as Athens, and after receiving instructions for Silas and Timothy to come to him as quickly as possible, they departed.
I want to be like the Bereans, searching the Scriptures daily, being open-minded and believing, welcoming the message with eagerness. I DON'T want to be like the Jews in Thessalonica that were agitated and disturbing the people.

Finally we arrived at Thessaloniki, Greece. I've loved this whole trip but for some reason, I longed the whole time to go to Thessalonica. Perhaps it was because I'd be starting a new Bible study right there while I was on this trip. :)  It was so very unique to be able to take part in a Bible study this time and begin it right where it took root! I loved doing the first 2 days of the lessons on the bus while driving here. THAT was cool and very moving! I will never forget that! How unique! It amazes me so that God would arrange the dates of this tour so that I could start a Bible study on the book of 1 & 2 Thessalonians right here while driving to Thessaloniki and then spending some time there! Wow! So amazing that He would do that for me! :)  We drove to a park and walked along the waters edge when we got to the city before we went to our hotel. Again, it was so surreal to be standing in this city, and hearing more of the history of it. So cool!! Our hotel was absolutely lovely and I had a view of the sea from my balcony. What a beautiful place! 

statue of Alexander the Great

trying to do a selfie and got a couple of photo bombs :)

our hotel in Thessalonica

beautiful view of the sea from my hotel room balcony
A definite highlight was meeting a dear couple in our hotel lobby that were waiting for us when our bus arrived, whom I had befriended through their church website that I saw on Beth Moore's Twitter account :) because I knew this was the Hillsong Church that she had connected with when she came to Thessaloniki as she was writing the Bible study Children of the Day. Beth had encouraged me to take my Bible study workbook along with me to Thessaloniki because that is where her journey for writing this Bible study began. I am SO thankful that I did!!  It was absolutely wonderful to connect with Zoe Church that Nick and Christine Caine began and to hear from them firsthand how the church is here in Thessaloniki and to put a face to a name. It is absolutely incredible how God orchestrates these meetings that I have with people across the world! We had a lovely supper with them at the hotel and then walked with them to their church. This couple also works for the A21 Campaign in Greece and so they gave us a report on what this amazing organization does to rescue girls/women from the sex trade right here in Greece. This was where the A21 Campaign began in 2008 and they have now grown to over 10 countries across the world with rescue homes for these women who are trapped into the sex trade. To read more about what they do, go to their A21 website. So incredibly blessed to be here in Thessaloniki!! ♥ Of course the time here was much too short but I'm so thankful for the time I was able to spend here. We ended the day by going on a lovely night cruise on the sea in an old style boat. Amazing day!!

met this handsome young man on the street in Thessalonica who gladly posed for a photo with me ♥
such a great picture of 'Children of the Day'

there was a protest of some kind out on the street so the police were out just in case there was a riot

the building where the Zoe Church meets weekly for services and different events

the street that Zoe Church is on

listening to a presentation about the A21 Campaign - great organization that rescues girls from the sex trade
their first home opened here in Thessaloniki in 2008

so blessed to go on a night cruise on the water in this cool old ship :)

blessed to meet this amazing woman who has a heart for the women on the street and works for the A21 Campaign ♥

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