A Warm Welcome.

I don't think I'll need to eat again for a few months after I get home. Seriously. Vicki is doing all of our cooking, and she's incredible. Yesterday we had tyropita and baklava for lunch and chicken and rice for dinner. Today she and a couple of other women from the church cooked stuffed green peppers and stuffed tomatoes. Oh my goodness. So tasty. We paired those with feta and tsaziki. We have bread at every meal. At church this morning one of the women (they call her the "church mama") gave us chocolates with hazelnut that she made for us when she woke up. Yum. For breakfast we are on our own, but our kitchen is stocked with anything we might want. We've been eating cereal, toast with honey and jam (and now nutella. We bought some.), ham and cheese, and leftovers (such as the tyropita with artichoke). We are very well cared for that's for sure.

It's obvious that God specifically put our team together. Rachel's family is from Mexico so she speaks Spanish. I wouldn't have said that would really be much of a help here in Greece but Vicki, her sister, and some of the other women in the church are from the Dominican Republic. Vicki has been here almost 30 years and is completely fluent in Greek, but since we aren't (yet), we speaks to Rachel in Spanish. I think it's a blessing for Vicki as well. She has to spend so much time with so because she does the cooking. I think she'd be very bored if she couldn't talk to us. And because we can communicate, she took us down to the harbor yesterday and the market today. Many of the Spanish speakers in the church joined us today for lunch. Camille said, "I'm so thankful that even though we speak three different languages we can still fellowship." What a God thing!

We have been reading questions from a book Rachel brought called If. One of them was, "If you had to nominate one person you've known personally in your life for sainthood, who would it be?" At the time, I couldn't really come up with anyone. Since the past few days, we've all agreed that we would nominate Vicki. She's a blessing to us, for sure. We are hoping to cook for her one night this week before we leave for Volos. We won't be staying at this church after Volos, but Vicki said that she'd like to invite us to her house one evening for dinner after we return. I'm serious, this woman is incredible.

At church this morning, Popi translated for us in the pew. It was a real challenge for her because there were seven of us and she was trying not to speak too loud. I didn't catch most of the sermon because of that. But I didn't even expect to have translation, so anything was awesome. I recognized some of the hymns we sang! The Koine Greek is coming most in handy in church. That's the vocabulary I know. I could translate quite a bit of the hymns, but I got lost when I tried to use my Greek New Testament. I'm excited to improve and learn more. Tyler got up and said a few words on behalf of the rest of us. He did a wonderful job with his phrasing so that it could be translated. He also wrote out one sentence in Greek that he could say as well as our theme verse (Philippians 2:13). The congregation clapped. He did an incredible job with pronunciation and everything! I would have frozen up.

Tonight we are going into town to Second Evangelical Church to hear the choir from Moody Bible College. We are all excited for that!

Tomorrow we are going to be working here at the church doing some organization and anything Pavlos needs for us to do.

I'm amazed. We've been here for two days. We haven't done any work per se and we are still infants in the language. Yet God is at work. His hand is in everything we do. We feel him. We're learning. He's directing our plans. We may not know much about what we'll be doing, but God does. It's a comforting thought.

καλησπερα, everyone!
In Him,



Pre-Field Training is over. I learned more than I expected, that’s for sure. We had serious time (seminars on child abuse, spiritual warfare, humility) and fun time for team bonding (I kayaked, ran an obstacle course, swung from a rope into the lake, climbed a rock wall, and played tug-of-war). My team is great. There were seven of us at Training, but one more intern will be joining us in mid June when she finishes school and our mentor and his family will join us around the same time. I’m excited to meet them. I think we are all ready to welcome them into our team. Those heading out for long-term missionary positions were at a weeklong training at Ridge Haven as well. Our team had the opportunity to meet and talk with a couple that is raising their support right now to be long-term in Greece. They are hoping to be here by January. They were extremely encouraging for all of us, and it is amazing to know that not only has God called us to serve here for two months, he has also called this wonderful family to serve his people in Greece for years. They’re praying for our time here. We’re praying for their preparation and funding.

We arrived in Athens this evening. We are exhausted but happy to be here. We’re going to bed early tonight and hoping to wake up at a reasonable time tomorrow. There has been a slight change in plans and living arrangements because students are still living at the Bible College (graduation is tomorrow). The pastor of Greek Evangelical Church in Peireas (the port city right outside of Athens) picked us up from the airport and brought us here to stay. We have tomorrow off to recuperate and acclimate ourselves to the area. On Sunday we’ll be joining the church for their service in the morning and may do something special for them on Sunday night.

All the way from the airport, I tried to read street signs and billboards. I think my pronunciation has finally improved, but I have the vocabulary of a one-year-old. I’m hoping that’ll improve quickly as I try to communicate with some of the people here at the church these first few days.
They had dinner ready for us when we arrived, and it was delicious! The members of the church we’ve met so far seem happy to have us here. They’re very welcoming.

As we were warned, the Greek sense of time and planning isn’t very strong. We know that we’ll be headed to Volos in about 6 days to serve there for a week, but we don’t know what we’ll be doing until then. Pavlos, the pastor who picked us up, says that there is plenty he is going to have us do around here in Peireas. The team is flexible, and we know God has a plan for our time.
After over 24 hours of travel, it is a huge relief to have arrived safely and with all baggage in tow. Thank you for your prayers for travel mercies. It’s finally sinking in that I’ll be living in Athens for the next two months.

I ask for prayers for our quick recuperation and good sleep. Pray that when we meet the church family here on Sunday, we are welcomed and that we can communicate somehow. There are other teams arriving on their fields all over the world today as well. Please keep those interns in your prayers. We met them at Training and will reunite with them at Debrief in two months. They are headed to Mexico, Peru, Japan, England, Ireland, Scotland, New York, Kenya, and Ethiopia and all need prayer for doing God’s work.

Good night!
Love, Kelsey



It was great to see my best friend today. I miss her. She's going to have an amazing summer galavanting all over the country. Luckily, we'll return home the same day. Perfect timing.
She's the first person I called after inquiring into the Greece internship and a huge influence in my life. I wouldn't be where I am today without her. It's weird to be so different from someone yet so similar. I can't wait to come home and see her and hug her and tell her about my summer. Emails will be our only connection for the next two months.

I'm leaving tomorrow. It feels like I'm leaving everything despite the fact that I'll still have internet access. I'm stressing out about not packing something, but I can pretty much find anything I've forgotten once I get to Greece. But I'm so ready! I'm excited to meet everyone I'll be working with for the summer! Atlanta/North Carolina, here I come!



It's a time of transitions. Beware of this post-- it goes all over the place.

I'm halfway done with my college career. Hello, what?

I feel dizzy just thinking about my year. I don't think I'll ever know which hemisphere I'm in or get over any jet lag. I can't wait! I have a wandering heart and mind. I haven't left the continent in two years. I know it doesn't seem like very long, but I'm getting restless. I don't think I'm meant to be here, in the United States. I know I needed to grow up here. I know I'm blessed beyond belief, but my heart longs for somewhere else. Or maybe I'll feel like an alien anywhere. Isn't that how it's supposed to be? This isn't my home. I am a foreigner on this earth.

Sophomore year was hard. Really, really hard. This past semester I took 19 hours. 19. I worked my behind off. And I survived. I did well. And you know what? I think I learned (or started to learn) how to balance my life. I made other things, like bible study, a priority, even when I had mounds of homework waiting for me. I think my relationships improved. I feel more involved, more like I belong. I'm proud of myself for working hard, doing well, and not sacrificing fun or what I wanted (just a little sleep... or maybe a whole lot of sleep). My mentality is that I'll sleep when it's done. Sometimes, that didn't mean much sleep, or any at all (remember this?). But I also know that I could catch up again come summer. I do have all those long flights to look forward to. Ha!

My world is changing. I'll be blogging for the next two months from Athens, Greece, where I'm serving with Mission to the World and seven other interns. I know the basics of what we'll be doing, but I don't know how anything will really go. I'm impressed already that I'm not stressing out. But I'm not surprised. If you haven't noticed, God's hand has been overly obvious throughout this whole process, from Wendy asking me, out of the blue, if I'd like to go to Greece this summer, all the way to my support come through in such a huge way. I've never felt God work this way in my own life, and I cry every time I think about it. In Greece, there isn't much of a sense of planning out daily schedules or abiding by timeliness. God is preparing my heart to embrace that piece of the culture. It's one that should be enjoyed and savored, but if I don't recognize that and learn to love it, I'll spend the entire time antsy, bouncing my knees.

Blogging during this time will be a way not only for me to share updates of what we've been doing and how God's been working, but also for me to ask for specific prayer needs of the people, the churches, us interns, and myself personally.
I'll begin that right now. The team is working on pulling together the last of the funding, but everyone is doing well. What a huge praise that is! We've all seen just how much God can provide, especially in His perfect timing. I think our greatest concern for the moment is packing and travel plans. We arrive for Pre-Field Training on Monday in Atlanta/North Carolina. We will fly out to Greece on the following Thursday. My prayer for the people in Greece is that they accept us. I pray that God is working on their hearts right now to prepare them for our arrival. I want to be able to form real relationships with them, to learn who they really are, to not impose my own opinions on who I think they should be. Personally, I need a ton of prayer. I'll need that prayer the whole time. Preparing my testimony is a daunting thing. I don't 'like' my testimony. It's not impressive, and I don't understand how I can speak to anyone through it. I'm also concerned about the language barrier. I want so badly to be able to communicate. I keep thinking that my two years of Koine Greek have got to count for something! But I don't know the vocabulary and the pronunciation is different and I don't know if they conjugate the same way. Good thing I know the names of all the letters. Ha! I'm hoping that I'll be able to pick it up quickly though.

My prayer requests will change as we move forward I'm sure. I don't know how often I'll be able to blog, but I'll do so whenever I can.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for all of your support, your thoughts, your prayers, your encouragement, and your love. Send it all the way to Greece, please?

I am excited for how God is bringing me into this brand new phase of my life. I can't imagine a better transition. I'm saying hello to a new day.

Dr. Byrd began most Greek classes with this word: καλημερα. 'Good day.' Hey, at least I can greet people!

So, καλημερα. Welcome to a new day.


Fully Funded!!!!

Praise the Lord!
I am over fully funded for Greece with just 28 sponsors! How powerful is that?

I am blessed, I am blessed!

God has placed amazing people in my life: people who love the Lord, who love to give, who love one another.

Raising support was nerve racking. But God provides. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I didn't know this process could be so emotionally and spiritually rewarding. I thought it was supposed to be difficult and disheartening.

But... I think I know where I'm supposed to be this summer :) It's clear now.
God is calling me to serve His people in Greece, and thanks to the enormous support of friends and family, I can answer that call.

I'm crying right now, considering all of the prayers you've been sending up on my behalf. I am shocked and blessed and thankful.

But here's the thing: don't stop now. Keep those prayers flowing. That is the. most. important. thing. If you haven't sent in support yet, but were planning to, let me know. I'm going to check with my team and make sure that no one else needs help.

I can't get over how blessed I am.
I hope I never do.



"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who shall go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'"
- Isaiah 6:8

Whelp, you get what you ask for.
So ready.

{Heartache and Joy}

Wow. I have never felt so conflicted before.

Believe me when I say that I am beyond excited for Greece in less than three weeks and Scotland in just a few months. But I hate saying goodbye. This feels way worse than it should. I think its because of what I'll miss. I'm afraid of being forgotten, of things changing so much that I'm no longer needed or no longer fit in.

I'm saying goodbye to people who won't even have the same name when I return. We can no longer have the kind of relationship we have now. I'm missing weddings.

Why does this have to be so hard? Why must I sacrifice?

I've blogged before about home. No matter which home I'm at, I feel constantly pulled towards the other. What happens when I spend seven months in Europe? How far from home will I feel then?

Heaven will be glorious. Everybody I love, from near and far, from America, from Europe, from all over the world, will be together rejoicing in the God Most High. It will be a congregation of sinners who are no longer sinners. And even then, I'll be in such awe of the glory of God that I won't care if I'm alone or if I'm surrounded by millions of people. That home will be perfect, and I'll never wish I was somewhere else.

I'm excited for the coming adventures. I know that God is in control, that He is leading me, that this is right. I just don't know the purpose. And when compared to all of the heartache I feel, it's hard to remember and trust in His plans.

As I attempt to prepare my testimony, please pray for me. I've always been kind of disappointed in it. However, RUF tonight was encouraging in that regard. I'm learning to recognize where in my life I've struggled and how God has worked with me through those struggles.