We’re Matt and Maria, missionaries in Athens. Our sending church is Kilmallie and Ardnamurchan Free Church, and we have been received here by Second Evangelical Presbyterian Church, through the organisation One Collective.
Currently we are involved in four ministries (which naturally overlap). The first is the outreach ministries of our local Church here, which run a number of weekly poverty services, including feeding, café, shower, and clothing ministries. We are specifically involved in the feeding and cafe ministries which cook lunch or dinner (usually around 80-100 people for the lunch feeding and 30 for the café dinner), and provide somewhere in the shade for people to relax, chat, sleep, play games, etc. This gives us a chance to speak to those gathered, to get to know them, have God centred conversations and find out any specific needs they may have. After the lunch we run an hour Bible study, and in the café we share either a short Bible message or a testimony. During the café ministry we play various Christian films in the background, have various multi-lingual Christian literature on hand, and speak with those gathered about the passage or testimony we heard (since Greeks don’t mince their words much, the conversations are usually honest and interesting).
The second ministry (that Maria leads) is outreach in two large universities in Athens, where two/three days a week she (always with another person) does surveys that allow us to have natural conversations with students that transition to the gospel. These surveys are based on previous work Agape (aka. Campus Crusade for Christ) has been doing in conjunction with Christian Union (aka. SKEF), and we do follow up with those who want to meet with us again to hear more. Maria also meets with several girls from our local church in the universities to take them with her in encouraging and sharing with them how to naturally do outreach.
The third ministry (that Matt is involved in) is a weekly refugee group that One Collective runs. It is a young men’s group for guys mainly from Afghanistan and Iran, aged between 16 and 22. We provide a safe space for them to relax (provide some food and play some games), before we move to group discussion and study. As almost all the guys attend other evangelistic church ministries, we are trying to work in conjunction with these ministries on their growth in maturity and cultural preparation/integration around biblical principles and have prepared a program loosely arranged around various Christian counselling books (working through issues such as emotional awareness, self-control, trust, anger, forgiveness, boundaries, reconciliation, etc.). We also do odd trips with the guys, either to the mountain, forest, or beach, firstly to try and get them away to a peaceful place from their often very stressful daily lives, and as a chance to witness to them in a quieter outdoor atmosphere, as many of them have spent very little time ever outside a city.
The fourth ministry is language teaching, which centres around teaching individuals we know from the above ministries (mainly refugees and those who can’t afford lessons on their own) a functional level of English and preparing them academically for other qualifying tests they are seeking to take for various future academic courses, which again provides a great chance to build relationships and introduce Christian works and themes into the learning process.
We are bi-vocational missionaries, having funding for 3/4 days in the ministries, whilst working the other 1/2 days. Maria already speaks fully functional Greek, whilst Matt is at an intermediate level, currently having 2 Greek classes a week. We hope to expand our ministry at a later stage to also include helping those in the above ministries struggling with addiction. We long to see God’s Kingdom grow in this place, through transformation in the lives of those we are witnessing to, rooted in them truly coming to know Christ.
Global Mission comes under the remit of the Mission Board of the Free Church of Scotland.