Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fearless, Faithful and Fruitful - Operation Joshua 4

A not so warm welcome to the Good News in Greece 

By Nico Bougas
Special to ASSIST News Service

CORINTH, GREECE (ANS) -- I would think I am a harmless old guy. I am not the confrontational type and try not to provoke people unnecessarily. So I am pretty much your regular peace-loving individual. But apparently some people in Greece don't see me that way. In fact our recent Bible distribution project was a great example of the parable of the sower found in Matthew 13. We definitely met up with some thorny and some hard characters who were not open to receiving the good news we were sharing.

Young people prepare to take out the Good News to the people of Greece
"Take this rubbish and don't clutter our neighborhood with this nonsense," said a rather stern looking man as he collected the bag we had just placed on his gate. This wasn't exactly the response we were hoping for as we passed out thousands of bags containing the New Testament in Modern Greek as well as an audio version on CD plus some gospel literature.

"Fyge! Fyge! Fyge!" Get out of here! Scram! We do not want you evildoers corrupting our town!" screamed another. I opened my mouth to explain that all we were doing was spreading the good news that God loves them and that we wanted to give them a free gift. But I never got more than a word or two out before he came charging towards me with clenched fists, eyes blazing and his blood pressure soaring. I decided I had better quietly withdraw before he had a heart attack or I got beaten up.

We also had a run in with the law when a police car drove up beside us on an isolated road near Corinth, Greece. "Pull over" he shouted in a voice of authority. (As the temperature was well into the 90s I knew he wasn't wanting a warm sweater.) Someone had called the police station and reported that suspicious strangers were seen in the vicinity and it was his duty to investigate.

Greece needs direction - Psalm 32.8
None of the young people had their passports with them so he said we would have to come down to the police station for questioning. It was time for my trump card, and so I whipped out my Greek ID card. This seemed to ease the atmosphere and they then called into the police station to check on my police record. Fortunately, I was clean so they let us go on our way. This was a little intimidating, especially for a group of young people from sheltered Christian backgrounds, attending a Christian high school and a vibrant Christian church - their only crime was spreading the good news.

In this situation I could identify with the Apostle Paul when he got rather despondent with the Jews in the Corinthian area and was tempted to move on to more fertile fields. But God spoke to him in a vision one night, "Don't be afraid! Speak out! Don't be silent! For I am with you, and no one will attack and harm you, for many people in this city belong to me." (Acts 18:9-10, NLT)

Over the past few centuries there have been many missionaries who have come to Greece and simply given up. They found the work too difficult and the people unresponsive. They echoed the words of the spies entering the Promised Land, "We can't go up against them! They are stronger than we are. All the people there are giants and next to them we felt like grasshoppers." Numbers 13.14
Welcome to our area - not always the case
So what can a small, ill-equipped mission group accomplish in this spiritually and geographically barren terrain? The truth is we will never know until we get to heaven. We have just completed Operation Joshua 4, when in just 6 days, 103,528 Greek households received copies of the New Testaments and audio CD's in Modern Greek, in 866 villages. 72158 Kilometers were driven (that's almost twice the circumference of the earth), on some of Europe's most dangerous roads, with no major accidents! This involved some 270 volunteers, with 17 nationalities being represented in total.

For a country that has never experienced a reformation or a revival or any major mass evangelistic crusade, this constitutes a huge, historical and remarkable event. Of one thing we can be sure, many lives have been touched. And maybe that longed for revival is about to break forth. "For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword." (Hebrews 4:12, NLT)

I also took comfort in this scripture as well - "It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it." (Isaiah 55:11, NLT)

Nico Bougas is the International Coordinator of Hellenic Ministries ( He has a master's degree in communication from Wheaton Graduate School and M. Div and D. Min degrees from Trinity Theological Seminary. He is the author or co-author of four books. He previously worked for Youth for Christ in South Africa and was Editor of In Magazine and Christian Living TODAY and now serves as Consulting Editor to JOY Magazine. For further, information contact: 


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