Greece Update #8

From Dr. Shaver: We were back in class today after another morning of worship music to start the day. For the 11-13 year old’s, the lesson focused on empathy and how it contrasts with mere sympathy. We discussed how empathy puts one in the place of another person and allows us to understand what that person is feeling. The point we drove home is that Christ has experienced all the struggles we are facing today and has this empathy, as confirmed in Hebrews 4:14-16. The kids truly latched onto this concept. In our small group discussions, we went over some other “records” that may play in our heads and impact our outlook from Tim Sanford’s book and also examined both the grief that can accompany the lives of third culture kids as well as the gratitude that can coexist with this grief.

In the evening “Gathering” time, we were prompted by Pastor Ken to pray for others who are facing physical or emotional struggles. We not only prayed as a group for one of the wives of our EPC World Outreach staff facing illness but also broke up into smaller groups, praying for those in the room facing distress or brokenness in various areas of their lives. It was truly a time of healing for the body of Christ.

In the evening after our meeting, many of us had game time with the kids, ranging from soccer to Nintendo. By now, when walking across the resort grounds, it is commonplace to be mobbed by a group of our kids who see us in the distance. The bonds they are forming, not only with each other but also with us as adult volunteers, are deepening. We pray they will continue long after this conference concludes tomorrow.

From Mr. Gummy: In the 6-10 year old group on this third day of class we talked about Joseph and how God was with him through every circumstance, whether it was welcomed or not at the time, and wove it all into a plan that ultimately blessed those who love Him. Each kiddo wrote another entry in their personal journal about thankfulness. Some were simply thankful to see friends they made here four years ago (quite a lasting impression, considering that’s half of their entire lives). Then we beat the heat by soaking each other with water sprayers (the kiddos ganged up on Mr. Todd and me) and finally ended our morning with a dip in the kids pool. After only a few days together, these sweet kids greet us with hugs and tell us stories of their adventures—from unexpected snowstorms to scars from poisonous sea creatures!