I’m Christos Papasakellariou, and I’m a member of the core planting group at CSPC’s mission partner church in the volatile Exarcheia area of Athens, Greece. I grew up in a family that was only nominally Greek Orthodox. We didn’t have a close relationship with the Church; maybe went three times a year, mostly at holidays. In 2010, I first met the woman who, a couple years later, would become my wife. She was a believer, I was not. On one of our first dates we visited a Protestant church in Athens together. It was a big difference from what I was used to- I couldn’t imagine being a part of it. One day she told me, ‘I have a couple friends who want to build a church in Exarcheia.’ I remember asking, ‘How come that area? It’s very tough. It’s full of anarchists who are anti-religion. There’s no church there- it’s not suitable for it.’ Her response: ‘Let’s go meet the guys there and we’ll decide later.’ So we met with Alex and Tim, the pastors leading the church planting effort, and I was curious about the project. She and I became part of it. Day by day, little by little, gathering by gathering, God touched me. I became a believer! Not long after, my wife and I got married. We actually left the church in Exarcheia for a while to help plant another church. We stayed there for three years, but I always had the church in Exarcheia and the people there on my mind, and I remained friends with Alex and Tim. After the birth of our first child, my wife and I were talking about what our family’s future would look like, and we decided to rejoin the church in Exarcheia. Our first Sunday back, it was like being back home- I felt like crying almost every single moment. I reconnected with the people I’d already known, plus met new believers. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude to God for bringing me back to my spiritual home!
Please pray for the members of the church to keep having good relationships with each other, and for our pastors’ strength. Finally, pray that God would lighten the load at my job in the travel industry so I can spend more time with my church community. I’m a candidate for elder right now, and my hope is to devote more energy to this ministry.