Greece (MNN) — Greek
firefighters began the week battling
strong winds that fanned the flames near Athens. The inferno forced the evacuation of
hospitals, camping grounds, and towns and destroyed dozens of homes.
Emergency personnel say this year's
fires are worse than the fatal fires of 2007 which destroyed 250,000 acres of
forest and farmland and left 2,500 homeless.
As a result, over the weekend Greece
declared a state of emergency. As of Monday morning, six major fires were burning across Greece, including blazes in
Evia and Skyros in the Aegean Sea, Zakynthos and
one near Athens.
Popular tourist destinations were
unaffected. However, as Greece moved
into Day Four of a losing battle to contain the fires, the European Union sent help.
from France, Italy and Cyprus were
operating outside Athens, with more help coming from Spain, Turkey and others in the
Located just five
miles from the Athens International Airport, the AMG
International Cosmovision Center (CVC) was built as a multi-purpose
facility designed to address the holistic needs– physical,
psychological and spiritual–of families, youth, and children of Greece and
AMG International's Tasos Ioannidis says their properties are still standing, but "everything is
unpredictable right now. There are very strong winds that are blowing in Greece,
and fire keeps spreading in different areas, so nothing is settled yet–there is
no certainty that it is not going to affect us."
However, Ioannidis notes, "We have a missionary (Argyris Petrou) who
teaches at the Greek Bible Institute: the fires are a mile away right now.
There've been a number of homes that have been destroyed in the area, and the
Bible school was offering housing to a number of people who have lost their
The Institute is an accredited one-year Bible training
program in Greece, but instruction is completely in English. More importantly, the school is known for its
community impact. Their response to the
fires is the Gospel in action.
Keep praying for the impact of AMG International. "In times of crisis, people are more
responsive and greatly appreciate the help they give. It's a great opportunity
to tell them that this is being done in the name of Christ and to show the
love of Christ."