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16 January 2007

Community and 29A

Jasonis Street, the heart of brothels in Athens. It turns out a rather sunny street amongst the tall downtown buildings. As I walked purposefully down Jasonis, I was affronted by the fact that I was walking in the light and yet I was the only woman. And really the only one it seemed with a motive for good that was on the street. I saw madames (the ones that run the brothels and keep an eye on the girls) and pimps and customers, but I didn’t see anyone just wandering. I wasn’t afraid necessarily, but more shocked. The sense that I had turned a corner into a spot that was not for me.

I wondered what the girls felt like every day when they had to walk down this street? I would asume that most who see them think - ah, there goes a prostitute. Was that what they were thinking about me? What if people only saw me on Jasonis Street. How would they value me? Would they see me at all?

And as I neared my objective, 29A Jasonis Street, I was motivated by the thought that someday God will redeem this street. That perhaps this very building will be the beginning of an outward show of what God is already doing. He is rebuilding and bringing beauty from ashes.
This building is for sale. It is now in ruins and seems to have been abandoned. Emma, Lost Coin’s local director, and her new Greek husband Yannis are interested in purchasing this building for their home. They both have a conviction to turn this place into a refuge, both a personal home and a refuge for girls on a street against them.

What would it mean to have a haven in the mist of this street? It would take a miracle. Yet it would only take the hand of God.

I can’t wait to see it. I can imagine it now actually.

Here I am sitting in the apartment in downtown Omonia Square, Athens reveling in the sounds of a city alive. I’m not much for cities actually, but there is something alive about seeing clumps of people standing on corners buying things from the backs of trucks, talking in random languages, drinking coffee and just being. The huge masses of humanity make up a community. Yet this community is alive, and throbbing with the sense that at any moment something is possible. What an amazing thing really.
The week has been made up of outreaches on the streets overnight, pouring tea for refugees, strategic planning meetings and strolling. And the best of all was a conversation with Ella the Philippino cook a we cut potatoes for Persian Fellowship (an evangelical outreach to Persians).
“Why do we pray and then not enjoy what we receive in answer? “, she asked curiously.

Indeed, why do we?
So for now, I am going to just enjoy the answer.

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