There were great things about Greece. I got to meet a large group of extended family, I danced to Greek bazouki music at a christening party, I swam in pristine blue water, and I saw a 2500 year old temple. Aegina was gorgeous, although more dry than I expected. Greece has a definite Middle Eastern vibe to it, rather than European. It was not what I expected. I am grateful that I got to spend time with my family, but I was homesick a LOT. I am glad to be back on American soil. This truly is a great country.
Top ten reasons I am glad to be home:
1. My beach reading in Greece was "The Case for Faith". My stepmom's was "The God Delusion".
2. The primary religion in Greece is Greek Orthodox. This involves saint worship and has little to no impact on the way the people live their lives. It is idol worship and the people don't actually have a relationship with the Lord. My cousins were the godparents in a christening I attended there. They are not even slightly Christian. Religion there is just part of being Greek.
3. You can't flush toilet paper. The plumbing system can't handle it. You have to throw used toilet paper in the garbage.
4. The roads in Aegina are curvy and ascend and descend mountains. My dad was driving our rental car, which was a 1989-1990 Fiat Scudo mini-bus with a stick shift. There are not guard rails on the roads. We narrowly escaped death numerous times.
5. They have nothing but Greek food there.
6. I missed my church family terribly. I was surrounded by non-believers for two weeks straight, and it really made me sad. It was a great time to witness to them and pray for them, but the family I have that lives in Greece don't even speak English, so it was hard to have a conversation. Hopefully I planted some seed of truth among the lies that dictate the way my family lives their lives.
7. NOBODY spoke English.
8. EVERYBODY smokes. By the end of the vacation, cigarettes were starting to look good to me again, even though I haven't smoked in years. You get over the smell eventually, I guess, if you're around it long enough.
10. Oh, mercy, the time difference. 7 hours ahead over there. I have got some major jet lag.
As I reflect on my vacation, I know I was there for a reason. There were many things that went wrong while I was there..I really didn't have a great time. People were on edge, nothing went according to plan, my brother got an ear infection, our quad (four-wheeler) ran out of gas, our mini-bus had a dozen things go wrong, the maid left a cigarette in the toilet..etc. etc. There were moments of hilarity because if you didn't laugh, you'd cry. I had so many people praying for my family to know Christ that I know there was definite spiritual opposition going on. It was a reminder to me that these people I hardly ever see are greatly in need of the living God. Also, it calls me to pray for Aegina, an island full of people who need the Gospel.
As I transition back into my life here, with my church, and with my Bible study, I will not forget to pray for them. I am glad to be home, but I am reminded that this world is temporary, and that there are still so many things left to do! Being around no Christians made it painfully obvious that without Christ, there is NO hope. I really want to keep this with me as I go about my day to day.