IWS in Greece: Trip of a Lifetime!

A Transformative Experience

By Kent Walters, Director of Alumni Activities

Thirteen IWS alumni and friends experienced a remarkable two-week tour to Greece in July 2023 that followed the footsteps of the Apostle Paul. The journey was led by Amy Davis Abdallah (DWS 704 professor), trip instructor, and her husband Ghiath, trip manager and seasoned tour guide throughout the Middle East. The word “remarkable” is an inadequate description, but it’s a start. Inspirational, awe-inspiring, breathtaking, instructive, and transformative are additional terms voiced by grateful members of the group.

Now, in 2024–it’s your turn! What might your experience be like? Read on.

A Taste of Greece 2023

We began in northern Greece where Paul came ashore at ancient Neopolis (modern-day Kavala) on his first missionary journey after receiving the “Macedonian call.” Gazing across the Aegean Sea at the point where Paul may have landed, visiting Lydia, where Paul baptized his first European convert, and Philippi, where he and Silas sang praises in prison, solidified our hopes that we would spiritually join the historic events that we read about in the book of Acts. Yes, it was life changing. The reality only deepened as we toured famous sites in Thessaloniki and Berea.

“The trip to Greece did not disappoint. It was with joy and a sense of profoundness that we physically connected with ancient structures and places where Paul went and re-imagined how the Word was preached and what this great apostle must have had to go through to spread the Gospel. I was impacted the most at the prison of St. Paul in Philippi. Seeing the space he sat in and knowing he still sang praises to God reminds me that we are truly called to worship everywhere and at all times. I would highly recommend this trip for those keen to deepen their understanding of the Bible and of the historical Christian faith.”

Michelle Ting, D.W.S. Candidate

Continuing southward, we visited the incredible monasteries of Meteora, the ancient archeological site of Delphi, and the 17th century Palimidi Fortress in Napflio.

We worshipped in ancient Corinth on Sunday morning in the shade of an olive tree as Amy read and brought the stories of Paul’s ministry there to life. We stood on the Bema where Paul was judged; we walked through the ancient ruins and imagined where Paul joined Priscilla and Aquilla in the tentmaking business. After lunch and swimming in the sparkling turquoise water of the bay in the nearby village of Kechries (ancient Cenchreae, where Phoebe led a church in her house), we headed for Athens. Countless photos were captured at the Acropolis, Parthenon, Agora, the view of the city from Lykavitos Hill, and Mars Hill—where Paul delivered his famous speech in the meeting of the Areopagus (Acts 16).

“Greece 23 was phenomenal on at least three levels: Being in an ancient setting gave me the space I needed to think reflectively on current challenges in my ministry. What a gift. Second, reading the Scriptures in the places they transpired along with hearing Dr. Amy’s insights brought them to life in refreshing ways. Finally, I was deeply impacted by the communal aspect of traveling, studying, eating, laughing, and crying together. This trip was a time of learning and spiritual growth and making new friendships that I’ll always treasure. Thanks Kent, Amy, and IWS for making this trip possible!”

Steve (D.W.S. 2013) and Audrey Tice

The trip continued to three islands. The most memorable site on Rhodes was St. Paul’s Bay (Acts 21). Crete, the largest Greek island, was equally beautiful and impactful—the Basilica of Gortys, dedicated to Titus, whom Paul left on Crete to lead the church, and ancient Fair Havens (modern-day Kali Limenes) where Paul’s Rome-bound ship landed for a time (Acts 27). The popular Santorini was our last stop. We enjoyed two full days of leisure time: sightseeing along the Caldera, swimming, shopping, and eating.

If you’re not tired of our Greece photos, you’ll find more on social media. Search #iwsgreece23.

Join Us for Greece 2024!

Our first Greece trip was envisioned as a time of refreshment for IWS alumni that would include intellectual stimulation, fellowship, worship, and exciting travel. Greece ’23 ticked all the boxes! And the best news—you can join us for Greece 2024–July 1-13, 2024! Click here to open the Greece 2024 brochure. You’ll find itinerary details, cost, and a link to register for the trip of your lifetime.

Plans for future trips to Greece, Turkey (the seven churches of Revelation) and the Holy Land are all possibilities for alumni and friends of IWS. If you are interested in participating in a future IWS travel adventure, contact me.

Greece 2024 Brochure

About the author

Alumni Director, Practicum Professor, and DWS graduate.