In the first days of November we waved our students goodbye at the dockside of Agios Konstandinos to head home for Skopelos island. For most of them their last 6 weeks aboard was deeply impacting. It was always interesting to hear their stories of lives that had been rescued from often dire circumstances and relationships that had gone wrong. Having found again a firm footing in Christ, they were now looking ahead with a new found hope with which to face the challenges ahead.
Returning to base, our first job ashore was olive picking. Sadly we came to find they were riddled with worm. It was to have been our biggest crop. Instead we made preparations to winterise the boat and to settle ourselves in onshore after 7 months afloat.
2015 it would seem is the year of change for Greece and also for the Kingfisher Project. Joachim (Germany) joins the crew aboard the Encounter and the Minas family (Greece) with their 4 children, will assume responsibilities on shore.
Joachim is a teacher at a technical college in Germany teaching in the fields of metal and wood working trades. He will be largely responsible for the ships technical needs as well as work alongside the skipper as a mate and be trained to take on full responsibility of the ship whenever that need should arise.
Dimitry and Meta with their 4 children, come to us from Athens. They’ve had various ministry involvements there alongside with working to financially support themselves, Dimitry more recently as a bus driver and Meta as a manicurist.
Initially Dimitry will take on maintenance projects around the property as well as be involved in the development of new infrastructure to host groups. As groups arrive they will be responsible to contribute toward meeting their physical and spiritual needs, with Meta helping out as family responsibilities allow.
This summer Dimitry will also undergo training with a local Kayak business, with the aim to developing recreational facilities particularly in the field of water sport as a platform to engage with youths from Greece and around the world.
The Minas family were with us in the first days of this year, and succeeded in finding a house to rent on Skopelos, just a few minutes walk down the road from the Kingfisher property. They will move to the island immediately after schools are out in June.
As 2015 begins to unfold, new opportunities and partnerships arise. This summer Moody Bible Institute will work with us on their “study abroad” program. In many respects the program will be similar to our Impact Training courses, however two of Moody’s professors will be doing the bible teaching.
A Thessaloniki based Greek Evangelical church that helps serve both the physical and spiritual needs in a particularly poor district will again come with as many youths they can find funds to support, for a holiday with us on Skopelos, where one of the main objectives will be to share with them the hope and promise that comes with faith in Christ.
In preparation for the upcoming season we have set out three main projects.
- upgrading of the accommodation. We’ll be turning tent sites into tree houses.
- Sheltered outdoor kitchen and dinning area.
- Black and grey water treatment system.
These projects will be started in May with the help of Steffen and Tanja who live on Skopelos permanently and another volunteer couple from Germany. Part of the work will be given to local builders.
Finding the finances to cover all the above is going to be our biggest challenge this year. Tauernhof our Austrian (mother) center has taken it upon themselves to cover Joachim’s salary at least for the next year. Dimitry however will be financed through the Kingfisher Project. We’re therefore appealing to anyone who may like to partner with us by becoming a regular donor. Of course any form of financial help is welcomed including a one time gift. You can click “donations” on the website to make a contribution.
In February we’ll be fine tuning all the details of these projects and budgets and will then post some of this to keep you abreast of developments. Further I’ll ask the new staff members to write a personal note of introduction so you may get to know them and I trust pray for them.