On 9 June, courtesy of Highbury Baptist Church, London, European Mission Fellowship (EMF) held a Saturday morning conference focusing on the needy land of Greece.
This was a very informative and valuable time. EMF’s long-term missionary Leonidas Kollaros spoke about his local work in Ioannina. He has some very encouraging links with the university students in the town. The four Greek students from this year’s School of Biblical Studies took part and added to the occasion.
Antonis Topaloglou explained his desire to plant a church in a materially poor and needy area of his home city Thessaloniki — a city with a population of around 1.1 million people. Antonis has served as youth pastor, preaching and leading the evangelistic outreach. He has also served on the national youth committee of his denomination. In addition, he has been helping on the island of Lesvos (Lesbos) at the height of the refugee crisis.
Stathis Yphantides, from Larissa, and his fiancé Ruth Karamanian, from Athens, explained their hope to work in revitalising a small church in a district of Athens. Stathis has had much experience in many aspects of church life. There are many churches in Greece that do not have pastors, and which are almost dying. Whether planting new churches or revitalising churches, there is a need for committed partners to enable the work to go forward.
Theofanis Gialypsos shared his testimony. After a period of searching he had come to know the Lord, despite being from an Orthodox background and having been influenced by the Mormons. Pavlos Karageorgis, who lives in London, gave an insightful illustrated presentation helping us to understand the Greek Orthodox Church.
George Yphantides, drawing on his many years of experience in Larissa, gave us something of a bigger picture of Greece with all its needs and opportunities. There was plenty of time for informal talk over refreshments in between sessions. This was a valuable time of fellowship and learning.
The speakers covered the south, centre and north of Greece. It does seem the Lord is opening doors of opportunity for the gospel in Greece. The Greeks themselves are most encouraged by our interest in their country. You can read more by visiting the EMF website at: www.europeanmission.org