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My wife and I recently returned to Athens, Greece, to minister among Greeks and Albanians. The lives, fortunes and misfortunes of many there continue to matter to us, despite the reality that we no longer live among them. Their struggles remain current to us and our awareness of their current trials forms a kind of […] Read More

Vernon and Gladys learned in early 1934, less than two years after they married, that she was expecting twins. Poverty, like swollen river flood water, was always lapping at the front door for this young, northeast Mississippi couple, causing Vernon to work extra odd jobs after farming with his brother, Vester. With no financial security, […] Read More

Some call it a modern-day Greek tragedy; others refer to it as the new normal for the country of Greece. Because my wife, Janice, and I moved to Athens, Greece, in 2005 and lived there for more than nine years and have many friends affected by it, we call it the number-one item in our […] Read More

For the first time since before we opened PORTA–the Albania House in Athens seven years ago, we planned a paint day and a work day. Because we want to leave the facilities in the best possible shape when we depart this field and relocate to Texas in September, and because it was past time for […] Read More

Before and during the Great Depression, my grandfather, William Emmitt Newell, was a small truck farmer, living and growing his crops in the red dirt near Marion, Miss., just outside of the “Queen City” of Meridian. Granddaddy raised turnips, tomatoes, potatoes and corn, gathered fresh eggs and sold chickens to city folks who missed the […] Read More

At PORTA – the Albania House in Athens – we’re all about giving. We give of ourselves, and we give nearly everything we do for free. There are many reasons for this. For one, as what Greeks call a “spiritual” center, we are not allowed to charge for our services. For another, our primary clients […] Read More

If 9:30 p.m. seems past a small child’s bedtime, you know you are not in Greece. When my Greek friends tell me that Greek schedules are about three hours behind other countries, I know they are not talking about time zones, but about a generalized Grecian orientation to stay up later at night. So, most […] Read More

In response to the crushing economic crisis in Greece, I have been working to improve my greatly underutilized capacity to empathize with my Greek and Albanian friends. As I have turned up the volume on my faulty hearing and labored to hone my otherwise distracted powers of observation, I have gained a fresh appreciation for […] Read More

The Greeks held another national election on June 17 and it now appears that a coalition government can be pieced together. It is not yet clear, however, what, if anything, the fragile, politics-makes-strange-bedfellows confederacy government will be able to do about Greece’s sovereign debt crisis. Most everyone who can listen to the news on television […] Read More

On the first Sunday in May, voters in the economically troubled country of Greece went to the polls and clearly demonstrated to the rest of the world just how fragmented and divided this birthplace of democracy has become. The two historically dominant political parties have recently been forced to work together to cut budgets and […] Read More