Some of you may have heard that recently there was a hostage taking in Athens - click here -
What some of you may not realize is that the place where the bus was held up was very close to where the athensblog team stayed for the olympics! Read the details below from Johnathan Macris:
First, his report during the event:
Dear Prayer Team,
The police chopper is flying overhead. 17 hostages have been released of the 28 who were aboard the Marathon-Athens Bus. The Bus left at 6.00am from Marathon, picked up the two gunmen in Pikermi at about 6.30am - about 100 yards from Kyle and Natassa's school and 100 yards or so from the Greek Bible Institute. The bus (with TIM written on the back) that you may have seen in the news is only a few minutes from our house. Its on Marathon Blvd where the Marathon race was run during the Olympics. The bus driver escaped earlier this morning - taking the keys with him. Pray for the remaining hostages that their lives will be spared. It's cold out. They must be hungry, scared and very tired.
It's hard to believe that 2 people can take our little neighborhood around the world through the news. (The bus is being held up in front of the supermarket where we do our shopping.) It reminds me of the impact of what a few men did on Sept. 11 to change the way the whole world lives.
Let's be the catalyst for positive impact in our world. Please pray for a peaceful resolution of this unfortunate situation.
Now after the surrender:
Miriam and I wondered if this hi-jacking wasn't another event to put Greece in front of you and on the map of the praying world? Don't you have to ponder the "whys" sometime?. So often what has the mark of the enemy, God uses for the advantage of His Kingdom plans.
PTL! I believe your prayers made a difference yesterday. Less than 3 hours after I mailed you the prayer request, to everyone's great surprise, the armed men threw their guns down and the remaining hostages were released. No one was hurt! Praise the Lord. He has been gracious. Thanks for being a part of an event in our 'back yard.'
ORTHODOX CHURCH ARCHBISHOP SPEAKS PUBLICLY: On the 12:00 news last night, it was sad to hear the Archbishop of Greece, Christodoulos, ask the nation to pray...'pray to the St. Eleutherios (which means freedom) who has the power to release the hostages in safety. Not to Jesus!
Mrs. Kotopoulou has been on another national talk show on Tuesday. She was to be on air again yesterday, but the program was interrupted due to the hi-jacking. Mrs. "K" is the one that took dad to court in the mid '80's when dad was tried and sentenced to 3 1/2 yrs in prison for sharing Christ and giving a NT to her son. (Dad was later acquitted at the appeals court.) Non-the-less, this woman is still filled with a 'develish' rage. The talk show was an attempt to nationally and publicly demoralize a Greek pastor from the small country town of Karthitsa that had been invited to the talk show! They publicly ridiculed and denounced the Bible Society's New Testament that we distributed during the Olympics as heretical! (I wonder how they get around the 4 first pages that have the signatures, stamps and testimonial letters of the 4 Orthodox Patriarchs, the Archbishops public approval of this modern translation and 19 Orthodox Churches that are currently using it in Athens!)
The talk show was the most dissonant, loud, uncontrollable, frenzied, disorganized, chaotic, pathetic, annoying thing I have ever seen! One Greek pastor was in the hot seat and a panel of about 8-10 where attempting to verbally whip him into oblivion! The panel host couldn't even be heard over the din of yelling and chastising....and this carrying on happened on one of the leading TV channels in mid day! If the verbal abuse wasn't enough, they kept replaying a baptismal of a lady that took place by this church in the sea.
Pray for our country that is so desperate. In the one case - poor desperate unemployed Albanians who like thousands of others are facing the financial realities of a 'post - Olympic' Greek economy. In the other case, a fanatic Orthodox mother who can not dismiss the fact that her son today is a fine Christian and working for a large International Christian Organization. (Her son is the young man my Father gave the New Testament to nearly 20 years ago.)
All publicity, good or bad doesn't cease to be publicity! What the enemy desires for harm and shame - God, through your awareness and prayers is leveraging for the advance of the Kingdom throughout our country - please don't let up on your prayers!
PS GreekTax Saga: Have been twice to the tax office since writing you - for a total of 5 times. On my last visit that was supposed to be merely to pick up documents, I was sat down and somewhat interrogated as to what we use Porto Astro for, what we teach the kids, who teaches and why we differ from the Orthodox Church as a 'heresy'. Imagine being audited for your faith by the IRS! It turns out that the chief officer is a staunch Orthodox and responsible for certain Orthodox camps. I was refused access to the report that they will be publishing concerning our status. I know we are squeaky clean. I can not be so certain, however, of their 'conclusions'. So, for this too, may I ask your continued prayers.
" See I'm doing a new thing! Now it springs up...a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland" Isaiah 43:19
Let's continue to pray for Greece! Many Christians visit there on vacation or on bible tours. Pray for the Lord of the harvest to raise up missionaries and labourers for this needy mission field