With hundreds of thousands of refugees pouring into Greece, God has opened doors to share Christ’s love with unreached Muslims in Athens.
Frank and Suzie Gonzales came to Athens in 2011 to plant a Calvary Chapel. “Initially, we didn’t come to Athens to work with refugees; it wasn’t even on our radar,” Frank explained. “But we have seen an openness to the Gospel [among them] that we haven’t seen before in Europe.”
The couple previously served in Poland for four years; in Athens, God opened unexpected doors to reach many Muslims fleeing the Middle East. Frank explained, “There’s a genuine interest. When [the refugees] see Christians showing them kindness, it opens their hearts. They have freedom here to ask questions about Jesus—something they could never do in their home countries.”
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? … So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:14, 17
Many Muslims do not understand the love and grace of God, Frank explained, since they believe one must earn favor with Allah through good works. They also mistake American culture for Christian culture: “So the perversion coming out of Hollywood, they equate that with Christianity and see Christians as perverse and unkind. Once they come into contact with genuine believers who show them kindness and share the Gospel in a loving way, it melts their hearts. They open up to talk.”
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