Imagine the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Imagine the enormous families. Imagine the thick Greek accents and the Greeks’ love for food. Imagine the pride they share in Greek culture and the only two colors being seen are blue and white. Now imagine placing 20 high school aged students in the middle of this big, fat Greek culture on a summer Travel Studies trip. I was one of those students and I embraced this big, fat Greek culture and every great offering that it presented.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
After studying the life of Apostle Paul for a semester, 20 Lake Worth Christian students and teachers boarded a 747 from Miami, Florida to Athens, Greece. We spent two weeks traveling the journey that Apostle Paul made during Biblical times and was recorded in the book of Acts. We saw numerous churches that he visited, tombs of Paul’s personal acquaintances, statues of famous Grecian athletes, poets, and inventors, and the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. We stood in the middle of the first Olympic stadium in Olympia, rode donkeys up to the top of Santorini, walked two miles to see the windmills of Mykonos, boarded a crowded tour bus to drive up a steep mountainside to see inside a mosque at Patmos and learned all about the four story palace at Crete. We ate spanokopi everyday for lunch, consumed gluttonous amounts of baklava, and had traditional gyros, mousaka and pastichillo for dinner.
Throughout our trip to Greece, we were instructed to keep journals of our feelings and thoughts as we saw and took part in these impressive and inspiring Grecian events. On the last day of the trip, I reflected on everything that this trip meant to me: “Time to say goodbye to Greece. I can’t believe it’s already come and gone. It has been my favorite trip outside of the country and I know my life has been changed because of it. I have absolutely NO MORE doubts about God or the Bible because I have been where the bible takes place and I’ve seen the places Paul has been to and the cities he’s changed and touched with God’s spirit.
“The Bible no longer seems like a storybook but now like a textbook. The events in the Bible happened and I know that because I was at the locations. The courage and determination of Paul is amazing and he’s become a role model in my life. I am now striving to be more and more like Paul by telling EVERYONE about Jesus and his amazing love. Paul did not let his fear get in the way of witnessing to others and now, neither will I. Even though the Thessalonians were beating and mocking him, he went back to Thessaloniki two times because he knew they needed God’s love. His faith in God is inspiring. He knew that God would take care of him, no matter the situation because he was working for God.”
My trip to Greece not only allowed me to experience and witness amazing accounts and breath taking landmarks of the Greeks from long ago, but it also reaffirmed my belief in God. Traveling to Greece changed my life because now I have more trust in God and his plans for me. I see the Apostle Paul as a role model and think about his struggles daily, which give me the determination and mindset that I can handle whatever struggles may come in my way as I start college. I know that God has a plan for me, just like he did for Paul.
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