Man, where to begin? A lot has been happening..
First of all, it's awesome to see how God has pursued this Serbian guy that I met on the basketball court. You can certainly run from God, but you can't hide, haha. His lovingkindness is forever in hot pursuit (Psalm 23:6). This guy met the Lord when he was 17, but fell back into the world and long-story-short, ended up in Thessaloniki. He has dived right into fellowship and is loving on everyone. It just wrecks me whenever I hear him pray - to hear this brother of mine that was lost and now is found. I just want to weep and worship God. It makes it all worth it.
He has joined Jen and Yanna on Tuesdays as they minister to the Roma (Gypsy) people. He was really moved by the children that lacked shoes and clothing, so I went with them last Tuesday. The first little girl, no more than two years old, that walked up to me didn't have shoes or pants. There are shards of glass and busted pieces of metal everywhere. I posted about it on Facebook and had a good response so far. Praise God, I received some financial contributions for shoes and clothing; as well as, interest in sending some via mail or with the short-term missions team from Dwelling Place in May. The kids are so hungry for love, attention, and discipline. It's tough not being able to speak their language, though many of them can't even read, write, or speak Greek. I just sat there and scatched little Andrea's (below in blue) back while Yanna was teaching them. He just looked at me and smiled. I intend to go there every Tuesday.
I've become part of the leadership team for the Thursday night homegroup in the city. Really pray that Femi, Annika, Natalie and I would lead the group well. Pray that we would take the group where the Lord wants us to take it and full of His heart. Pray that people would really be released, free to express themselves, to grow, to love and to really get to know one another. We need wisdom and unity!
Next Friday we are having 24 hours of prayer at the church from 7:00pm Friday to 7:00pm Saturday. Some of our friends from the churches in Macedonia will be coming down. I'm really looking forward to an awesome time of worship, prayer, and fellowship with our brothers to the north. Last year this event was a point of significant breakthrough in the church.
Speaking of breakthrough, this is the theme of the upcoming conference Tommie is planning together with fellow churches in Beirut, Lebanon. It's not in my budget, but I believe it's God so I'm going anyway! Haha. I just heard a sermon by Tim Keller in which he recounted a story about Alexander the Great. Alexander was of course extremely wealthy due to his vast conquests. He told his generals that if they needed anything, to just ask him. So, one day, a general came to him and asked Alexander's treasurer for the funds for his daughter's wedding. However, he asked for ten or twenty times above any reasonable amount needed for even the most extravagant wedding. When the treasurer went to Alexander and told him the general's request, he expected Alexander to be shocked and to dismiss or even rebuke him. But instead Alexander told the treasurer that this was excellent. He said, 'This general of mine must believe that I am extremely wealthy and generous,' so he gave it to him! Beloved, have we begun to believe the depth of God's abundance and generosity? 'How much more will He give what is good to those who ask Him' (Matt 7:11)!
I digress! We are still reaching out to students on campus twice weekly. I was reminded today that God has been faithful to answer our prayers. When I got here in late November, there was little to none of the promises that He had spoken to me previously. But He told me to prophesy to this city, to the valley of dry bones, that the motherlands of the gospel will give birth again. And this brother sitting next to me in church tonight was a fulfillment of those promises - the fruit of those prayers and pioneering steps. He is faithful!
With that said, pray that the Lord would give me grace, wisdom and vision to continue to reach outward as opportunities to serve the body have increased. Pray also that I would see and hear where the Lord is leading me this summer and fall, so that I would prepare and order my way towards that end.
God bless - Love you all!