Thursday, April 30, 2009

Speaking of Random Proposals...

I just found out that this has hit You July 2007 a very special group came to FUGE camp at North Greenville University. This special group included three guys who really liked my morning show character Bertie. The following occurred after the Benji and Bertie night life:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Greece Day 5: Nafplio

This city is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. See the proof below:

These were taken from atop a castle that we were able to tour. It was simply breathtaking! The water fort pictured above is called the Bourtzi and was built by the Venetians in the 1400s to police pirates. The castle is called the Palamidi Fortress and was built in the 1700s. We explored throughout the castle and took many more photos:

One of the fun tunnels
The Fortress Wall
Seth and Mitch exploring down below

One of the prison cells in the castle. We had to crawl through a tight space to check this out! It was a special experience for two of the members of our party who had been arrested and jailed together for sharing the Gospel message with the Roma people group in another area of Greece.

After our castle exploration we had to walk back down to the city. And by walk I mean we climbed down 1044 steps. It was intense! Here's a look at the stairs...
At the beginning of our trek
So many more steps to go!

We had a beautiful afternoon visiting the shops and walking around the city before a wonderful Greek meal and a nice drive home. That night we had a celebration service and praised the Lord for the wonderful works He has done and will continue to do!

Thank you so much for praying over this trip and I ask that you continue to pray for the precious people of Athens. If you would be interested in taking a trip like this to serve the world around you check out The Task for more information.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Greece Day 5::Corinth

We got up early and loaded the bus on Friday to head to Corinth and Nafplio for our "tourist" day. As we rode one of the former missionaries shared the history of the area with us and I was riveted, but a few others just wanted to sleep. :) So I went and sat up front with him to get the scoop on all the wars and such. I'm a history nut, remember? Our first stop was the Corinth Canal. Before the canal existed ships were rolled over land on logs, winterized and repaired before reentering the sea. This is where Paul, Aquila and Priscilla would have set up their tent making business because the sailors had to sleep somewhere! So they bought tents and would wait for the ship to set sail once again. Nowadays ships just cruise right on through this beautiful canal.

After this short stop we headed into Ancient Corinth. We were given a self guided Bible study tour booklet and walked the city stopping in different sections to read Scripture that directly referenced or correlated with things we were seeing right then. Talk about an amazing time! Here are some of the highlights:
Temple of Apollo
Acro Corinth, the Temple of Aphrodite

Bema Seat, where Paul was taken before the Proconsul
Jennifer and I in front of the Bema Seat, right behind us is the whipping post

The runner starter blocks for the Corinth Olympics
Fountain of Pierene

It was such a special moment to stand in the middle of Ancient Corinth and realize that Paul stood there; I closed my eyes and imagined it as it must have looked in days gone by, bustling with shopkeepers, locals and dignitaries. This is where the Corinthian church was born! This experience has deeply affected how I read 1 and 2 Corinthians.

Next stop: the beautiful city of Nafplio!

Greece Day 4 (or The Day I Got Proposed to on Mars Hill)

My fourth day in Greece was very special. Not only am I a huge history buff, but Greco-Roman history is my favorite time period. Everyone else on the team went to the Acropolis and toured the Parthenon and Mars Hill on Sunday but I didn't arrive until Monday night so I missed that adventure. On this glorious morning I was able to spend a few hours exploring one of the most amazing feats of architecture of the ancient world. I traveled with the prayer walking team and then got off at a later stop to begin my hike up to the Acropolis. At the base of the Acropolis I stopped to snap a quick picture or two of Lykavittos, the hill that we prayer walked the day before:

Lykavittos Hill

I finally found the entrance to the Acropolis and was thrilled to walk around and experience such an incredibly historic place.
Greek Amphitheater

Entrance through the Temple of Athena


Words cannot describe my wonder! I so loved walking around and exploring...and trust me, I took many more pictures! However, as I looked at this impressive buildings my heart became burdened for those that worshiped these idols and imaginary gods. As much as I enjoy the story of these myths and legends, they blinded so many from the One True God. I pondered this as I left the Acropolis and headed towards Mars Hill. This is where Paul the Apostle addressed the men of Athens in Acts 17.
Mars Hill

I spent the next 45 minutes on the far right corner of the hill, eating lunch and reading Acts 17. I just couldn't believe I was sitting where Paul had been! I spent some sweet time with Jesus on that hill. And then...

I got up to take more pictures. While I was snapping away I was approached by a Greek gentlemen who asked to take my picture for me. I politely declined and took a step to get a different angle for my next shot. In doing so I slipped on the rock and my new Greek friend caught me. We chatted for a bit, exchanging typical pleasantries, and then he proceeded to rejoice in my eye color and declare his love for me. He said, "This is love at first sight and I must propose marriage to you right now!"

Yes I am serious, no I am not making this up! He must have sensed my shock when I did not respond immediately due to my jaw hitting the floor. He then asked if I had a boyfriend...and that sounded good to me so I said, "Yes!" in hopes that would deter my would be suitor. However, it did not and many questions followed, "How long have you been dating?," "Why aren't you engaged yet?," and "Where is he?" I responded that he was waiting for me down the hill and I must go meet him...and my suitor hollered out, "Tell him he has competition!"

I don't know why strange things happen to me, but this one is for the books! I mean, how many Americans can say they've been proposed to on Mars Hill?

Here are the shots I took while I was talking to my new friend:
The Acropolis as seen from Mars Hill

Lykavittos Hill as seen from Mars Hill
The city of Athens as seen from Mars Hill

After my wonderful morning and early afternoon of exploration I met back up with my group and we went to the soccer field to watch the big soccer game! All week we had been inviting everyone we met to come play or watch and it was so much fun! The teams were both mixed with Greek and American players and everyone played hard and had a blast. For those of you that know me, both teams were thrilled that I declined to don a jersey. My athletic skills are greatly lacking!

After the game the Mayor of one of the local towns treated us to a wonderful dinner! It was a special night celebrating what the Lord had done that week and fellowshipping with our team. After dinner I had the privilege of meeting up with a new friend I'd made on the train for some coffee and hang time. She's an amazing young woman who had some great questions about my faith, reading the Bible and praying. She is a fellow actress so it was a neat connection and God truly prepared us for this sweet time together.

We concluded the night with a prayer experience. We prayed over the work God had been doing, did that week and would continue to do in Athens. It was such a sweet time on our knees and we ended with heartfelt, joyful worship to the King of Kings!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Greece Day 3

On Day 3 I hiked this:
It was beautiful. We spent the morning prayer walking over Athens. We partnered up and prayed from the Metro station all the way to the top of the hill. Athens has 6 million residents and only 4,000 claim the Christian faith. Please pray with us for this city, rich in biblical history but blind to the true Light of the World.

Here are a few shots of the climb:
The beginning of the climb
At the top of the stairs, about to start hiking switchbacks
A view of the city from the bottom of the hill

Let the real climb begin!
View from the top: The Acropolis (zoomed in a lot)

The breathtaking city of Athens
There was a chapel at the top and you could light candles for loved ones. I thought this was a neat shot.
Just to prove I actually made it to the top. Even though it took me awhile (many thanks to my patient prayer partner, Seth.) And yes, I am showing some Rush of Fools love with the t-shirt!
The prayer walking team

Greece Day 2

Day 2 came a tad early for me, but I was ready to explore the beauty of Greece! Everyone was already split into teams and those teams went to a different site each day. I joined the Media Team so I could visit as many sites as possible. Our team started off by joining the group conducting interviews of Greek locals. Students would approach different people and interview them about their culture, traditions and religious beliefs and practices. Everyone was delightful to talk with and openly shared about their rich culture.

Rows and rows of coffee is a BIG DEAL in Greece!
One of the teams paused for a photo op before starting their interviews!

After discussing traditions with our server (who wouldn't teach me any Greek dances, despite the fact that I was ready and willing to learn!) we piled in the van to visit the crew that was clearing away brush and planting new trees as part of a city beautification project.Clearing away the brush
The team takes a lunch break

We enjoyed lunch and a hike up the hill with this crew then we made our way to the sports clinics. Every afternoon our team split up to either lead or participate in several different sports, aerobics and dance classes in the community. This gave us an opportunity to meet more Greeks and learn their way of life in hopes of having a chance to talk with them about their way of life. I joined our two resident black belts for the Tae Kwon Do class. And no, I did not participate!
Shawn was incredible! He taught those kids some moves! He and his sister Kjerstin are from Alaska and are two of the sweetest people!
Kjerstin is an amazing young woman. She was born deaf but can now hear and speak thanks to a cochlear transplant! Not to mention she's a black belt. And from Alaska.

After the sports adventures (other teams went to fencing, aerobics, ballet, traditional Greek dance, basketball, and soccer) we headed back for dinner at our homestead and then had a wonderful night of worship. I was able to share a piece from my new show Grace's Cafe. Here's a shot of Stella (not in costume, as I had no costumes in Greece!)
Stella is a great character!

After such a full day it was early to bed to prepare for the hike we tackled on Wednesday!