Once again, I find myself asking for your forgiveness for taking so long to update. I was hoping to have a handle on the next step before posting, but as it is, that part of the journey has yet to be revealed, so I will tarry no longer.
Before leaving Greece, I had the opportunity to help disseminate the shoes for the Roma children brought from the States. The children were very excited to receive these shoes and some of the boys who were wearing women's slip-on's were definitely in need of more appropriate shoes. It was such a blessing to see that initiative come to pass from inception to fruition. My friend Nikola's compassionate thought, lead to a comment, that led to a posting on the web, that would bring a duffle bag full of shoes across the ocean to children in need. To those that made financial contributions, here is Yana's note to me:
"[I] bought some things for classes, medicines for some kids and there are still some left which I will use in time of need. It is so great when you don't need to think about the money. You just have it and use it. I like it. God bless those people who give and you for your heart."
Again, thank you so much to those that helped make that possible. I wish I could put these kids right in front of you, so that you could see and touch their smiling faces. Words and photos will have to suffice until the age to come.
The team of interns from Dwelling Place in Virginia did a fantastic job. They didn't back down from loving people and preaching Jesus on the university campus and in downtown Peraia. One of the young girls they talked to admitted to being "afraid" of them because they were "so close to God." Amanda shared a word with her and she responded, "God sent you all the way over here to tell me that, didn't He?" The gospel is certainly constantly bearing fruit and increasing in all the world (Col 1:6).
I returned with the team on June 2nd. I've returned to work at the UPS Store, as I prayerfully consider the next step. I have presently decided not to return to Greece in the fall. I am taking steps to secure housing and roommates in the Christiansburg area, as I explore opportunities to integrate my desire to do the work of missions in a more financially sustainable way, perhaps vocationally. I am researching graduate school in my spare time. We shall see where the Lord leads. I love the mission field!
Lastly, I would just like to thank everyone that has supported me prayerfully, financially, and emotionally, in both word and deed. I could not have done it without your support. My time in Greece remains as an everlasting testimony of the Lord's faithfulness. I am so abundantly blessed to have had this opportunity to see the Lord work miracles before my very eyes over the past six months. Know that through your partnership, you have released the kingdom of God throughout the nations.
Although this chapter of Ben In The Balkans appears to be closing, I don't doubt that I will return to the Balkans again in the future. Until then, check back periodically, as I may continue to update this blog with news and thoughts, as they develop in the future.
As always, much love.
Feel free to contact me with thoughts, comments, questions, or hello's!