Greece (MNN) — "To be Greek is to be Orthodox." This cultural barrier keeps many from coming to know Jesus as their Savior. 98% of the people in Greece belong to the Greek Orthodox church, but a mere 2% attend services regularly. Many don't have a relationship with Christ because evangelical Christianity is "heresy," and they are taught that Greek Orthodox is the only true church.
One Greek Orthodox couple only stepped foot into a Greater Europe Mission church because their daughter's college roommates brought her to salvation. Their daughter studied medicine in England, and the pressures of school and homesickness caused her to attempt suicide. Her dorm mates interceded for her, and she accepted Christ. After telling her mother about her salvation, she was forbidden to attend an evangelical church.
"I love you, mom," she replied, "but I love Jesus more."
At Christmastime, the daughter learned about the GEM church and met missionaries Bill and Marion. Seeing their daughter happy again was enough to move the couple past their fear of the "heretical" church, and they attended a service with her. They now attend the church regularly and meet with Bill and Marion to ask questions about the faith.
"We're not sure if they've come to faith, but we keep praying for them and answering their many questions," said Marion. "To a Greek Orthodox person, grace has a different meaning. Their church teaches that grace is administered through the seven mysteries of the church, and that grace is not unmerited favor but a help to their will, which was weakened by the Fall."
Marion and Bill have served as GEM missionaries in Greece for 42 years. Marion believes that people everywhere are generally the same. "People have the same heart needs," she says. "Therefore, I seek to love them and be their friend, praying that I'll get to share Christ with them." She believes that the people need much prayer and that it's wise to learn what their religion teaches so that she may relate to them properly.