Tea Cup

NOLA to Greece: Tea and tears

mlab Global, Missions, Sarah, Staff

“Syaw or sabz?” I must have clumsily asked that question a dozen times, mostly because my Farsi is non-existent and I had to keep repeating myself to be understood. “Black tea or green?” Over and over again. Wednesdays are a little different at the refugee center: only women in the building, a more relaxed atmosphere, and lots and lots of hot tea. I knew deep down as we started the day that something significant was happening. I had been feeling it all week, and I sensed it even more so with each handshake and kiss exchanged as the refugee women filed in. As we settled in with our tea, our hostess, an incredible woman who has served at the center …

NOLA to Greece: Check your “savior syndrome” at the door, please

mlab Global, Missions, Sarah, Staff

I am not a hero. I am NOT a hero. I am not a HERO. Sometimes I have to repeat that phrase to myself so I’ll remember, well, to remember that I am no hero. I don’t have super powers, a glowing, golden lasso, or even a cleverly named sidekick. But there is something about going on a volunteer trip that kicks that latent “savior syndrome” into high gear. Those of you who know me personally know that I spend a lot of time trying to coax this syndrome out of the groups that volunteer with MLab in New Orleans, so you would probably think that since I rail against “savior syndrome” so much that I’d be immune to it. …

NOLA to Greece: “But when do we start??”

mlab Global, Missions, Sarah, Staff

If you’ve been following #NOLAtoGR on social media (if not, you definitely should be!), you’ve seen a little bit of our Grecian journey so far, and let’s be honest, from our pictures of the delicious food, incredible views, and plenty of smile-filled selfies, it probably doesn’t seem like we’re “roughing it” as you might expect us to do on a trip like this. You might be wondering when our “real work” begins, and you’re probably not the only one asking that question. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: sometimes serving and volunteering involves more than nose-to-the-grindstone tasks. Sometimes it’s sharing a meal and a conversation with a local ministry partner. Sometimes it’s catching up with a …

NOLA to Greece: Notes from a newbie

mlab Evan, Global, Missions, Staff

  Since March of 2011, MLab has partnered with a refugee center in Greece. And if you’ve been through our program in the past three years, you’ve heard about the dire situation of the refugees there. In the time since our partnership began, some of our MLab team has had the opportunity to serve there. They have seen the faces and heard the stories first hand. Today, for the first time, I have that same opportunity. Soon, I will see those faces and hear those stories myself. I am blessed beyond measure for this opportunity. But if I am completely honest, sitting here in the airport about to board the first flight, I am also more than a little scared. As an …

2014 Global Missions in Greece

mlab Global, Local, Missions, Spring Break

If you’ve been to MissionLab in the past three years, you’ve probably heard me (or one of my teammates) talk about our global missions focus in Greece. In fact, if you have interacted with me on anything past surface-level small talk, you’ve probably heard me talk about Greece. Three years ago, part of our team began looking into the struggles, the needs, and the ministry opportunities there. Ever since, we have been sharing the story of the work in this part of the world with our MLab teams who have come to serve in New Orleans. In a country so tiny and overrun with economic difficulties, there are over a million refugees seeking a better life. With only around 11 …

Greece: A Few Final Thoughts

mlab Global, Missions, Sarah, Staff

If I’m being honest, I could talk for hours about my trip to Greece: the people we met, the work we did, the things we saw and experienced, the food we ate (!) – the list goes on and on. After visiting three times and falling more in love with the country and its people each time, I’ve got a few stories to tell. For obvious reasons, though (like this isn’t my personal blog and not everyone gets as stoked about Europe as I do), the time has come to wrap things up. In doing so, I figured I would answer the three questions that seem to come up the most. (By the way, if any of you want to …

Greece: The Power of Conversation (and Prayer!)

mlab Global, J.P., Missions, Staff

Kypseli is a tiny neighborhood in Greece (it’s only 1.6 miles long and 1 mile wide!). Despite the close quarters, the community is packed – the population of 180,000 is diverse and includes Greeks, Russians, Albanians, Afghanis, and Iranians, just to name a few. Part of the group who went to Greece with us spent the week praying over and ministering in this neighborhood. We worked with a man who has in the last year begun a church-planting project in Kypseli. There are only 30 evangelical churches in all of Greece, so clearly, there is a huge need. The people in Kypseli are hard working, but the country’s economic crisis has hit everyone living in Greece. The town square where …

Greece: Divine Appointments

mlab Global, Missions, Sarah, Staff

Timing is everything – it’s a cliché for a reason. While I tend to operate on New Orleans time for most things (we move a little slower around the Big Easy), I strive to be on time when I know someone is waiting on me. I’m a people pleaser at heart, and I can’t stand to slow anyone down if I can help it. Sometimes my schedule doesn’t exactly match up with the Lord’s plans, though, and I was reminded of that very clearly while our team was in Greece. Near the end of the trip, we came across a woman named Daniella begging on the street. Someone had clearly helped her position herself on the sidewalk in front of …

Day 1: Greece

mlab Global, Missions, Sarah, Staff

Completely exhausted from travel, looking worse for the wear and smelling like all four of the airports we’d trudged through, our team has finally made it to Greece! By the time we dropped our bags in our hotel room, I was completely overwhelmed. Those of your who know me fairly well can tell that I’m a bit of an over-thinker. Maybe that’s an understatement – I’m a LOT of an over-thinker. When we stepped off the last plane, I was bracing for culture shock, language (and sensory) overload, and exhaustion. By the time we checked in, though, I was on the verge of shutting down altogether. Out of everything I was feeling, one thought stood out the most: I was …

Countdown to Greece: Pure Servanthood

mlab Global, J.P., Missions, Staff

 This is a guest post from J.P. Cox, our MLab Director. He and one of our other staffers, Sarah Barnett, will be traveling with a small team to serve in Greece for a week. J.P. and Sarah will be blogging throughout the trip, so come back for regular updates on this adventure! As I sit here in a rare moment of solitude and collect my thoughts (which are many at the moment), my mind keeps going to our upcoming trip to Greece. I have the privilege of leading a team of 13 to this beautiful country for a week of service to the Lord. Service – what does that really look like? I’ve spent the better part of this week …