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  Nr. 21 - November 1999
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How I Came to Paros

by Barbara Gilis, November 1999
I’d been coming to Paros for many years - since the late seventies - and always loved it as a holiday destination, but had never dreamed of actually living here.

In those days I spent most of my time during the day at Punda, then a quiet and peaceful beach, and the evenings at Remezzo Bar in Piso Livadi with Georgos playing his guitar between serving the drinks and regular tourists contributing Dylan and Beatles songs.

Then, in 1985 my life took a completely unexpected turn - reading a Christian autobiography, I suddenly realized that my lifestyle had to change - I was, as we say, “born of the Spirit” and really came to understand what is meant by “seeing the light”.

When I next visited Paros, my holiday luggage contained the previously unlikely item of a Bible and an assortment of Christian paperbacks to share with the people that I met - everyone here had so much time to listen, not like in England where they were all so busy.

It would be wonderful, I thought, just to stay here and share God’s Word, but I dismissed it as a silly idea - surely God would want me to do His work somewhere less exotic. But, that afternoon, reading my Bible on the beach at Punda, I had an awesome experience - as I read I felt that strange physical sensation of a power running through my whole body, and I knew with every fibre of my being that the words were directed at me - “I will set a sign amongst them and I will send some of those who survive to the nations, to Tarshish...and Greece and the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory “(Isaiah 66:19). Still, I had to be convinced.. so I asked three questions: Why, How and When?

Within the next 12 months, I had received clear answers to each of them, sometimes through the most incredible co-incidences (God-incidences I now call them), and by April 1989 had given up a successful career in computing, put my house on the market, left family and friends behind, bought a piece of land on Logaras and moved to Paros to live.

For two summers I lived at the campsite in Piso Livadi, then, together with my husband Peter, whom I met here in 1990, we built our home on the land. In the years that have followed, we have had so many opportunities here to do God’s work and to share in His love with residents and tourists alike.

Barbara’s book “To Greece and the Islands” tells the story of the trans-formation from her former professional life and her calling to Paros. The book is available from Bizas Bookshop in Paroikia, Anoussakis Market in Drios, and Bibliopoleo Exantas in Naoussa (harbour) at a cost of 2,500 drs.
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