Thoughts on a InstaEssay by Coach Jacob Harman-Travels, Ministering, Jujitsu, Wrestling in Greece

I can’t say I’m the most godly person nowadays, although growing up I was shaped by my Christian beliefs, and even now, although I may not credit God specifically, I still hold philosophies that bear the same base and ideals.

One of these is to go with the flow and give yourself up or take advantage of the situation around you. This closely coincides with Amor Fati, a term coined by Nietzsche which, in summary, is to love ones fate. Not to just accept ones fate, but to embrace wherever one may be and know that it is necessary. And on that note, it’s very similar to the notion of giving up one’s life to God, to put things in his hands.

Which brings me to a InstaEssay by Coach Jacob Harman that I would like to share. Coach Harman is a Pastor, Wrestling Coach, and Photographer. It’s a nice InstaEssay narrative, and a good example of this philosophy. Not only that — it’s the best way to travel. In life or on an adventure abroad, it’s key to know that there is a plan for you, whether a fated one or a omnipotent one, and to take advantage of wherever you may be and embrace your fate in that moment with all its chance and funky turns and surprises.

Here’s the link, or keep reading below for the full text.

I was super blessed to be invited to share today at a church in an arts district of Monastirakiou in downtown Athens, Greece. It’s really interesting how I ended up here actually: I got the opportunity to share at a Greek prison on Tuesday, and the translator (who I had met only a couple hours before) invited one of his friends who also ministers in the prisons there to join us. After ministering with these gentlemen in the prison that afternoon, we quickly became friends and talked about visiting his church the upcoming Sunday (which is today). While we were waiting for the prisoners to file into the day room where we are going to speak with them, the translator and I noticed a faded poster on the prison wall of the ruins a Delphi. I said, “That looks awesome!” Then Nikolaos (the translator) says “Wanna go check it out?” Then I said “Sure! How far is it?” Nick says “I have no idea, but I don’t have anything to do tomorrow, do you?” I replied “Na, let’s go check it out.” This conversation transpired before I shared my testimony with the prisoners. And as I was sharing, I could see Nicks eyes and face change with wonder as he translated the words of my story.

The next morning we set off for Delphi, which ended up being about a 10 hour round trip journey with all of the stops that were involved. He asked if we could stop by and minister at his friend’s drug and alcohol recovery center in Thebes. I said of course, because I knew the journey I was on was the Lords, and I thought that He might have some cool and unique stuff for us to do there. As we started to head out of Athens, Nick asked if we could pick up an old friend of his that wanted to go out to the substance recovery farm as well and of course I said yes. So here I was in this car about to embark on a 10 hour journey with a couple strangers that I have known for less than 12 hours, and also one of my students that has flown over from Italy to spend some time with me to minister here in Greece.

As we drove through the beautiful countryside outside of Athens on the way to Delphi, Nick began to share his testimony with me. I began to realize that Nick’s life was like a mirror image of mine, and now he is ministering here in Greece. Addiction, alcoholism, drugs, depression, violence, prison, brokenness, repair, restoration, redemption… the beautiful Spring scenery passed outside the window, once again I felt like God’s favorite child… And that this car ride was just for me… And I felt His presence again speaking to me so lovingly and so clearly….. As Nick shared the different elements of his testimony, I realized that the elderly Greek man that we picked up was none other than the very man that had ministered to Nick while he was in rehab over 10 years ago… Patiently loving him to Christ… and all of us were going out to yet another rehab to do the same thing for some guys that were just like us… Something that this man had been doing for pretty much all of his life……. Two sets of students and teachers in the same car… Separated by decades, languages, cultures, and thousands and thousands of miles… But totally united in Christ in purpose and passion for the lost. It was a very beautiful day in Greece for all of us. God is so good!

The missionary William Carey said “Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God”. For me, Greece has been a micro study in this exercise. I came here, somewhat like a spy… disguised as a wrestling coach, to minister to a bunch of tough wrestling, grappling, jiu jitsu, and MMA athletes… but the Lord had even bigger plans for me. I can’t believe I had the privilege of ministering in that prison, sharing at that rehab center in Thebes, and sharing in front of this congregation today, as well as the congregation last week. None of these churches were within the Calvary Chapel network of ministries, but they were all within God’s network here in Greece. I’m so glad that I was open and trusting enough to hear His voice and be bold enough to obey His leading. God is Faithful.

You can follow Coach Harman on Instagram @jacobharman Twiter: @Jacob_Harman Website

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