Recent Changes… Praying this Gonzo Gazette finds you all well. Since our last update at the end of February we’ve recently with in this last month experienced some major changes in our ministry and team. In short, the Spencers are no longer serving with us or are part of the CC Hellas Bible study and ministries, as they felt called to pursue a new direction. They feel that serving in church planting in general is not conducive to where they are. As one might expect this news was discouraging and disappointing as it came to us as a complete surprise and it all happened so suddenly. Although things like this happen in ministry the people who’ve been attending our Bible study for the last year have had a difficult time with this new development. This is partially due to the fact that this type of change within ministries in Greece has happened frequently in their experiences. So with that we ask that you would keep the people from the Bible study in your prayers that they would adjust to the new normal.
Despite all of this Suzie and I trust the Lord to continue to lead us and to faithfully establish the work that He has called us to in Greece. And although this has been a challenging period of transition we earnestly want God’s will to be done and are trusting in Him to do it.
Pressing Thru and Pressing On… Currently after much prayer I’ve decided that we need to take a short break from our normal CC Hellas Bible study routine. We will be using this time to seek the Lord on any new direction that He might lead the Bible study in and on ways that we can improve on what we are already doing in our ministry. The plan is to reconvene later this month at the home of Kenn & Lisa Dirrim, two missionaries doing refugee work here in Athens. They have been part of the CCH Bible study since we began and are very encouraging to the work.
In addition to our Bible study and church planting effort we’ve been and are pursuing other avenues of service with different Greek and foreign ministries working in Athens. Over the last year the Lord has given Suzie and I good relationships with these ministries and their leaders and has blessed us with a spirit of kinship and trust with several of them. We plan to continue that aspect of our work for the furtherance of the gospel and to see what doors may open.
Open Doors to Serve… It is also our heart to keep busy and continue serving the Lord in whatever ways we can. Over the last several weeks Suzie and I began to volunteer at a local Greek church’s food outreach for the needy once or twice per week and have been extremely blessed in doing so. We’ve really seen the resourcefulness of the Lord in this as we’ve actually been using our Polish in this outreach because several of the regular attendees are Polish. There is one lady, named Dorota, who we’ve taken a special liking to. She is from the city of Gdynia on the Baltic Sea, which was only about two hours from where we lived in Olsztyn. Here we are, at the extreme opposite side of Europe ministering to a lady that lived near one of the places we served in Poland. This of course is also pushing us even more to use the Greek we are learning as most of the people who attend and help out speak Greek. What a resourceful God we serve!
My friend Aziz who is also a CC Missionary from Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa working with the refugees recently invited me to step in to help teach a “Seekers Class” at one of the refugee centers downtown. The class is designed to help Muslim men interested in Jesus learn more about Him. Currently the class is going through a series on the Old Testament prophecies of Christ. It will be a blessing co-laboring with a brother from Calvary Chapel!
Summer… Our summer plans have changed. In light of the recent changes that our ministry has gone through we thought it would be better to stay in Greece this summer. Some neat doors may be opening to us to serve in different ways that we are exploring. We also hope to make it to the missions conference in Austria this year as well. We haven’t been since 2008 and are praying that the Lord would provide for this. The refreshment is greatly needed!
Media Projects… Last month our ministry began a project to record Pastor Chuck’s message, “How Can A Man Be Born Again?” in Greek for evangelistic purposes. The message has been recorded but now I am sorting out the music that we will add to the CD along with the message. The finished product will be a CD that can be given out to people in order to share the gospel. Our brother Manos who comes to our study will be helping me with this and is Chuck Smith’s voice in Greek! 🙂
Committed to the Vision… Please know that we are committed to continuing our church planting work, even though we are taking a break from our Bible study until later in the month. Although there are many churches in Greece with sound Bible teaching there is still a great need to establish Calvary Chapel style ministries here as we are committed to expository teaching the Word of God verse by verse from Genesis thru Revelation . It is our belief that God desires to use the ministry of Calvary Chapel here in the same way that He has elsewhere in Europe. It always amazes us when we sit back and look at all that God has done through Calvary and the hundreds of churches that have been planted on the foreign field, by missionaries and nationals. We trust and believe that He will do the same thing through our ministry here in Greece!
Greece is in a state of change and desperation due to the financial crisis that it has been experiencing since 2008. It is in need of the gospel and solid Bible teaching, though it was the first nation in Europe to receive the gospel 2000 years ago. It’s our conviction that the Lord desires to use Calvary Chapel to meet part of this need and that He has called us to do our part in fulfilling the Great Commission, “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” Matt. 28:18-20. Simply put, we plan to continue reaching out to the lost with the gospel, build up the body of Christ with His word, and to raise up and send out Greek nationals to plant churches and do the work of the ministry. We are very encouraged by the Lord’s promise to be with us in all of this!
Thank you again for all your love, prayer and support that you have been so faithful to give. Some of you knew about the recent ministry change that we’ve gone through and we want to say thank you to those who have been there to support Suzie and I through this change! May the Lord continue to guide and bless all of you as you walk with Him!
In His Service,
Frank & Suzie