STSM Highlights // GREECE

STSM Highlights // GREECE

This is part three of our new seven-part series: “STSM Highlights”. We’ll be sharing the testimonies of every mission trainee sent out by KCM last year through our STSM program. Stay tuned as we post one country per week!

Featured below are the testimonies of two students from the Greece team: Esther Yu and John Jae LeeFor the full collection of Greece testimonies, click here. (To quickly search for a specific student on the Google Doc, click View > Show Document Outline)


One of the most encouraging and challenging parts of this past trip to Greece were the testimonies that we were able to hear from the believers and missionaries that we encountered. Their stories were incredibly touching and God used them to personally challenge my perspective on what a “radical” Christian life looks like.

At one of the main churches we worked with, we met a good number of Afghan and Iranian Christians who generously shared their stories with us. There’s something really beautiful about how God is able to change hearts that are so deeply entrenched in Muslim culture, and hearing their stories was an amazing encouragement. However, at the same time their stories were also a sobering challenge.

Every single person we encountered had to sacrifice everything they had to become a Christian — their homes, their jobs, their families, truly their entire lives. It reminded me of the true cost of being a disciple of Jesus, and that in America that cost is often shrouded or ignored in the material and emotional comfort we live in. But in Greece I was reminded of the cost Christ himself said it would take to follow him.

Another testimony that deeply moved and challenged me was from of the missionaries we were able to serve with. This missionary was part of a short term team that was in Afghanistan when they were kidnapped and held captive by the Taliban for forty days, which ultimately ended in the death of two members of their team. As she shared what she experienced during that time, I was so blown away by her tone of simple humility as she explained the tragic events. In the midst of life-threatening danger and heart wrenching tragedy, she was able to very simply declare the goodness and the nearness of God to those who truly believe that the gospel is more precious than their lives.

Her testimony showed me that it is truly God that works through his people, and not his people that do good works for God. Even through an ordinary short term mission trip, although in a worldly sense ended in tragedy, God was able to use what Satan meant for evil to glorify his name. No human strength, boldness, or even love could have taken these missionaries through what they experienced and bring them on the other side as full of joy and worship as they had. It was truly God himself working and speaking through these people.

Overall, these stories really challenged me to change my perspective of what I considered to be sacrificial or radical for the sake of the gospel. I was reminded that this is the kind of sacrifice that God calls everyone who calls themselves a Christian to, not just a “radical” few. I really want to grow in this aspect and really ask God to make the gospel more precious to me than my own life, and to be able to joyfully live whatever life he is calling me to, whatever sacrifice might look like.


Hello, my name is John J. Lee and the Lord granted me the privilege to do missions in Greece. Through my encounter with the refugees in Athens, God had commanded me to rejoice. I entered a refugee camp and it was not what I expected – unlike the despair and run-down tents that I had imagined, they were living in decent sheds with refrigerators and air-conditioning. They treated us with hospitality, offering delicacies like fruits and Iranian syrup and they worshipped with us.

These families and individuals, who have migrated from countries that abide by Sharia law and follow the Muslim faith, were open to knowing who Jesus is. Although I praise the Lord, I know that not all of them were committed believers of Christ. Yet, God had already been working in their hearts to have a desire to know Jesus. After singing hymns and reading Scripture with these refugees, I asked them why they were interested in becoming Christians.

I noticed a pattern among their various responses – they found joy and happiness while pursuing Christ. In this moment of realization, I felt God pulling at my heart to rejoice. During the past few months, I had a difficult time having joy in my heart, being unnecessarily discontent with my life; I realized I had placed my sense of value in people, not in God. The Lord challenged me to see myself not through the eyes of Man, but through heaven’s eyes. God was commanding me to rejoice.

And rejoice I did – at least, I tried to. I fought for joy daily. Furthermore, I discovered more of the joy that the Gospel can bring to people. I built numerous relationships with the refugees, among whom I encountered Ali and Amin, the only individuals from Pakistan that I met. They have been in Greece for one year and eight months, but were arrested for six months even though they committed no crime. They suffered injustice because of the prejudice that the Greek police held because of Pakistan terrorists. And, unlike the refugees I met at the camp, these two identified themselves as Muslims. I shared the Gospel with them and, by the grace of God, they attentively listened.

Through our relationship, I got to understand more about Pakistan refugees and clarify their questions about Christianity. Specifically, I asked if they were interested in becoming Christians. They were not opposed to the idea, but just struggled with understanding what the benefit of following Jesus was. Ali asked how he, someone from Pakistan, could gain anything from Christianity – he thought that, because I was from America, my religion would let me have a good job, a good family, a good life. In that moment, I felt God urging me to tell them that the greatest benefit a Christian has is a relationship with God. That sank into their hearts as they nodded. Even I came to value this truth: being with God brings the greatest joy in life.

I have understood that the Christian life must exemplify the life of a refugee. We are to long to be home again, back to our heavenly Father, and even more invite others to join us. As Paul shares in Philippians 3:20 that “our citizenship is in heaven”, we are to be heaven-minded. We are to desire God’s presence because heaven is where we can always experience Him. I’m becoming aware that a missionary mindset comes from anticipating heaven. By encountering the refugees, I have learned to treasure not much my earthly home but the heavenly home I have in the Lord. Through this anticipation we have joy. And we cannot contain this joy – it must be shared

. I do not know if or when Ali and Amin will become believers, but I do know that God will let those into His house when they accept His invitation. And when they do, it will be a joyous party. Because of this, I want to be heaven-minded, displaying love and faith in God, and build relationships with nonbelievers as I proclaim the truth that the Gospel is joy. Praise the Lord that we can rejoice in Him!

STSM 2K18 applications are live, and will be due on March 25th! #GO 

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