Philip and Joy Kirkland - July 2018
Major fires this week have brought destruction to several towns around Athens.
We want to give you an update on the situation here in Athens and the surrounding area. We are all safe, but the death toll is currently around 80 and may continue to rise. The church community is already getting involved, and everyone is working to assess the damage. Right now much of the area is closed as officials go door to door looking for bodies. We’re planning to go up on Saturday with a group from the church to begin the cleanup process and see how we might be able to offer emergency and ongoing aid. Hundreds of homes were destroyed or damaged, and many people are now displaced. There will certainly be much to do over the coming weeks and months!
One of the blazes was less than a mile from our church camp where 150 kids were for the week. They evacuated all the children Monday night, and the wind blew the fire the other direction, sparing the camp (this is the same camp incidentally that burned to the ground last summer in a forest fire).
The fire in the town of Mati was the most devastating, and we have 2 elders in our church who live in that area. Their homes suffered damage and their yards were completely burned. We will work to support them in caring for those in their immediate neighborhood.
The nature of the tragedy is very disturbing, and the whole country is in shock. Please pray for the families that have lost loved ones and whose lives have been turned upside down by these fires. Pray for wisdom for God’s people here as we step into yet another emergency relief situation. Pray for Joy as she offers help in the area of trauma counseling, and Philip as he works to connect people and resources to the situation on the ground. Pray also for the gospel to go forward even in the midst of tragedy- this has already led to several meaningful conversations about God with neighbors and friends.
For the latest on the fires you can find local news in English here: www.ekathimerini.com
We’ll keep everyone updated as things unfold. Thank you for your prayers.
Philip and Joy - MTW Athens, Greece