Published : Thursday, May 9, 2019 | 12:28 PM
From April 12-22, eleven Maranatha High School students, along with their Head of School Dr. Steven Sherman and Principal John Rouse, traveled to Greece for the first time as part of Maranatha’s Global Steward Service Trips program. The team spent eight days in Greece embracing the chance to journey the steps of the Apostle Paul and witness the most amazing historical sites that Greece has to offer. In addition, the team worked at refugee camps to help bring the love of Christ to people who needed encouragement and hope.
On the first day, the group traveled by bus to Thessaloniki to a refugee care center where they served in many capacities. The team primarily worked with men who came from countries such as Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan to receive food, get cleaned up, get their clothes washed, and take shelter inside a warm place. The Maranatha volunteers worked alongside volunteers from Northern Ireland to sing, talk to the refugees, make sandwiches, distribute food, and share their testimonies.
Maranatha junior Eric Chang said, “At the camps, we were able to see how people with very little resources at their disposal were still able to find happiness. This taught me to find joy in the little things in life. At one of the camps that we visited, the refugees were Kurdish. Many have become refugees because the countries in which they lived had persecuted them.”
On the second day, the Maranatha group traveled to the refugee camp in Lavrio. From the awkward first interactions to the last, lingering tearful goodbyes, the group was blessed beyond any expectations. Maranatha senior Emily Chaparian shared, “When it was time to leave the camp, two little girls wouldn’t let go of me because they wanted us to stay. As I was walking away I turned back and blew them a kiss, which they blew back, and then just waited out there until I was gone. I became really emotional and started crying because I could sense that these girls were longing for something more than what they had, even if it was just being able to play with someone like me for a day. It was an incredible experience I will never forget.”
The trip to Greece was a beautiful mix of service and culture exploration for the Maranatha group as they visited monasteries that depicted amazing frescos of major stories of the Bible, the archeological site at the Temple of Poseidon, the Ancient City of Corinth, the Aegean Sea, and so much more. Towards the end of their time in Greece on Easter Sunday, the group traveled to Athens by bus as they read Luke 24 and celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Maranatha Principal John Rouse said, “As we walked up the steps of Mars Hill and the city of Athens laid before us, we followed our guide to the spot where we read Paul’s famous speech from Acts 17:16-34. We were even asked to pray for the people of Greece, that they may come to know Christ because only 25,000 out of the 11 million people of Greece understand the Gospel and who Jesus Christ is. It was a good time of fellowship with our Christian brothers and sisters in Greece.”
Maranatha High School, 169 S. St. John Avenue, Pasadena, (626) 817-4000 or visit www.maranatha-hs.org.