I was born into a Christian family. Both my parents were sincere and devout believers in God, having accepted Christ as their own personal Savior. Naturally, under such parents, I was taught the word of God and the way of salvation since childhood. We lived at a village in Epirus, called Kato Ravenia. There were no other people of like faith, and we faced intolerance and contempt on the part of the community. As a child I often wondered why we were not like the rest of the people, why we were different! I would ask my mother and she would tell me, «Son, there certainly are other people like us, too, but not here», and she would go on mentioning the nearest town, Jannina, where there was a small Evangelical Church. «Some day» she continued «God will move us there so we can have fellowship with people of the same faith».
Those were very difficult years. The Greco-Italian war had just ended and Greece, despite her victory over Italy, was conquered by Germany and occupied by the enemies for almost four years. Famine was killing more people than the military force of the enemies. And it was then that father died, leaving behind a widow with seven young children. I was the only boy in the family, and sixth in the order of age. A sister right after me, Martha, died while father was still living. I could feel the pain of losing both, sister and father, but mother comforted me by telling me that they had gone to be with the Lord and were much better there and some day we, too, would go to be with Jesus and them either by death or by the Rapture.
On Sundays, about the time believers held their church services all over, mother would have us all around a table, open the word of God, read out a portion and give us a message, sing and pray together. That was our family devotions service, which, as a child then I did not appreciate, especially as I would hear the voices of other children of the neighborhood playing outside. My mind was with them and I wished my mother were like theirs.
Inside me, though, I feared God. I was very much afraid of dying and going to hell, and knew that in order to escape it I should repent and trust Jesus as my personal Savior. I mentioned the Rapture before. Mother talked to us about it quite often, and urged us to be ready. Many a time I would get up with fear at night and go to mother's bed to see if she hadn't been taken up. And when I saw she was there I returned to my bed to continue my sleep. This agony lasted for years. I went through a long and arduous process until, by God's grace, I found peace and rest in my Savior.
I won't get into details now, but as I go on in my narration I'll make recurrences and fill in gaps, as there are so many of God's wonderful interventions, both in the family and in my personal life, that may support the faith of some of the readers.