Wow! We can’t believe it’s been three months since our last update. Since we returned from the States in February things have been pretty busy for us, so it has been difficult to make time to write in. We are, however, blessed to share about some of the things that have happened since our last report and praise God for His day-to-day faithfulness!
Seeker’s Class: Frank has continued co-teaching this Bible study through the Gospel of Mark with our friend Kenn Dirrim. They have covered the first ten chapters so far. The need and fruitfulness of this ministry has become more and more apparent each week they have met. Each week there are usually ten to fifteen men coming to hear the word of God. Among the group are a small number of believers who seek out every opportunity they can to be taught, though most of those who attend are Muslim men who are working through the truths of the Bible in their own hearts. The questions they’ve been asking recently show that they are beginning to truly understand and are genuinely thinking through the things they are being taught. Please continue to pray for these men (we can’t mention names).
Temporary Helper: In our last update we mentioned Pamela Shattuck, the CC missionary who was coming to serve with us for a couple of months. Previously she had served in Israel but ran into a visa issue that is keeping her from returning until a future date, yet to be determined. During this interim time the Lord has opened the door for her to rotate in and out of a couple of other locations to serve temporarily. Her time with us has come and gone and we can earnestly look back upon it with grateful hearts. Pamela has shown herself faithful and has been a huge blessing to our ministry and to the ministries that we are working with in Athens. While here she was seeking the Lord for the next place to serve and after praying with her on it the Lord was faithful to open up a door to Cyprus. She leaves on May fifteenth to serve with our fellow missionaries Tim and Darlene Mattox at CC Paphos for the next three months. We are excited to see what God will do with this sweet lady. Lord willing we will see her back in Greece again in the fall for another time of service.
Women’s Bible Study: Suzie’s women’s Bible study with CBSI (Community Bible Studies International) in Greece has three weeks to go until they take their summer break. In the fall they will start a study through the Gospel of Matthew. Suzie and the other ladies in leadership will be taking turns teaching through the book. Her time thus far has been blessed not only because of the study of the word, but also because she has had many opportunities to get to know other sisters from many of the different churches in our city. This group of about twenty or so women come from a variety of different ethnic backgrounds, like Filipino, Greek, African, British, and even American 🙂 God is so good to bring together every nation, tongue and tribe under one roof.
Ephesians Bible Study: We had to put our study through the book of Ephesians on hold for a few weeks in order to work out some scheduling issues. Please pray for the group of believing men and women from former Muslim backgrounds who desire to attend.
Teaching Engagements: Frank has been invited to teach at one of the Filipino fellowships in Athens for their spring retreat on Sunday, May 19. He will be following their theme from Hebrews 12, “Running the Race with Endurance.” We are looking forward to this time with our Filipino brothers and sisters in Christ.
IBS Training: This summer we will be planning an Inductive Bible Study Training Seminar from October 1-4, 2013 with Dan Fin frock of Intensive Care Ministries. A group of 50-70 pastors and leaders from a variety of ethnic backgrounds will potentially attend. The sessions and material will be provided in at least four different languages, English, Greek, Farsi, and Urdu. The plan is to do four evening sessions that will train the attendees to study and teach the Bible expositionally. All materials and a small meal each evening will be provided. Frank is working with a few of the Greek and foreign pastors and missionaries in Athens to host this event. He has also invited a couple of other CC missionary pastors serving in Europe to come out to assist Dan and him for this if they are able. This type of basic training is desperately needed and will help these leaders to properly equip the saints that have been entrusted to their care. Our hearts are to make it free for everyone attending as most of them cannot afford to pay. The cost of facility, food, and materials are also out of range for CC Hellas to cover fully. We will therefore be setting up a special fund in the near future that will allow people to directly donate to it in order to cover the costs. We will notify you when it is ready. Please keep this all in prayer as the Lord puts it together.
Children’s Ministry Workers Training: A training seminar for children’s ministry workers is being potentially planned for March of 2014. Currently we are waiting on confirmation from the CC church team who will come for this seminar. Please pray for the Lord to lead in this. Training in this area is greatly needed in Greece and will be extremely beneficial to the body of Christ at large in our city if we are able to host this event. Although it is a ways off and not yet confirmed we just wanted to give you all a heads up so you can begin to pray.
Summer Family Camp: We will be joining in a summer camp hosted by Hellenic and Helping Hands Ministries for Muslim refugee families from June 11-17. The week is one filled with Bible teachings, small group times, and lots of fun that is normally out of reach for those attending.
Suzie’s Health: Finally after several months of battling one thing after another Suzie is nearly in the clear. After her last spread of doctor visits and tests from our wonderful Greek Christian doc and the specialist he referred us to we discovered two major issues that Suzie is dealing with. First, she has a chronic bronchial issue (not asthma) that makes her susceptible to coughs and infections. She also has a yet undiagnosed sinus issue that is exasperated by allergies and in turn negatively affects her lungs. These two things working together make it very easy for her to get sick, especially during season changes when the pollen count is high. The specialist she saw placed her on some strong allergy and bronchial medication that has made a huge difference. Thank you all for praying!
The Move: After several weeks of repairs and painting we are finally settled into our new apartment and are extremely grateful to the Lord. The apartment is cheaper, bigger, more comfortable and is more centrally located (i.e. shops, public trans, banks, food, etc.). All around it is much better for life and ministry. Our hearts are to not only make this new apartment our refuge but to also use it for ministry. We look forward to continue getting to know the Greek and foreign people in our new community and pray for open doors to share Christ with them. We’ve included a slideshow below of our home and some fellowship taking place. Things are still pretty plain in the house but functional. Decor is next :). Be sure to keep reading after the slideshow as there is more to report 🙂
Praise Report: Our new apartment was soon followed by some other huge blessings. Over the last few weeks we’ve been blessed above and beyond what we could ask or think. Through several people from the States the Lord provided for several things that we have been praying for. Two people donated funds to cover Suzie’s medical tests and meds, another person purchased us a new Mac laptop and some needed furniture for our home, and another person purchased us our first Ipad (very helpful for ministry). Needless to say the giving hearts of our supporters, and the faithfulness of our God to answer longstanding prayers are truly humbling to us!
Who are we here to reach? We are closing this update by asking and answering this simple question. The simplest answer is people, regardless of their ethnicity. Our prayer since we have been in Greece is for the Lord to place before us whomever He wants us to minister to. As you have noticed recently that has meant quite a few people from Afghanistan and Iran as well as some other ethnic groups. The unique thing about Greece is that geographically it stands at a crossroad between East and West and has been called the doorstep of the 10/40 Window. When the 10/40 comes to you it is hard to ignore. In regard to our ministry to the Greeks it seems to be much more relational. Evangelistically speaking we are building relationships and trust with people in our community and getting to know them over time. Our relationships with Greek believers have also been growing as we’ve served together in many ways and have mutually encouraged each other.
We want to thank each of you for the part you play in keeping us serving here, whether it is through prayer or financial support. God is using you to reach the people in this nation. We are so blessed to have you on our team!
1) Family Camp/Outreach: Next week we will be involved in a 7 day family camp for Iranian and Afgani refugees. It will be held at a facility about two hours outside of Athens near the seaside. We will be assisting two different Greek ran ministries that are hosting this event. Please pray for protection/health for all, the gospel to be received, and for Christ to be revealed to each attendee. The week will be filled with Bible studies, times of sharing, games, swimming and much more. We look forward to what God will do!
2) God’s Leading: Please continue to pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance as we seek His face on our ministry here. Summer typically is a slower period and will give us a chance to reflect on what God is doing and wants to do.
3) Inductive Bible Study Training Seminar for pastors and leaders: Please continue to pray for the planning of this event in October. There is much to do and few to do it!
4) August Austria Missions Conference: The time is creeping up on us again. Time to get filled and spend time with our fellow missionaries and close friends. Please pray for us to be able to go and for God to provide every need we will have. We have signed up and desire to spend some time away during the month of August to get refreshed! As things get closer we will fill you all in on what are trip will entail.
5) Health for us and a friend: Please continue to pray for our health. Suzie has been doing much better and Frank has been staying clear of sickness as well!! Praise God!! Also please keep our friend Sahar in your prayers. She is currently in the hospital dealing with pregnancy complications. She has been battling this for some time but we know God will take care of her and the baby. She is near her 30 week mark and we really are praying she can deliver him/her to full term. Please pray!
6) Language: Continued prayer for our Greek language studies as we meet with our teacher over the summer. Frank is planning on taking an intensive course in September; please pray for provision for this.
7) Co-Laborers: Please ask the Lord of the Harvest to send laborers into this field. Both of us feel that serving with a team would be a much more effective way to fulfill the ministry entrusted to us.
8) Ministry: Continued prayer for the Seekers Bible study; Community Group Bible study through Ephesians; Women’s Bible study that Suzie is part of. The ladies are on break this summer but Suzie and the rest of the leadership will meet to discuss the new material they will be going through in the fall as well as just getting together to pray. Overall God is blessing those things we are putting are hands to and we look forward to what He will do!!
9) Provision: Please always pray for this as a monthly need and over all. God has been and is so faithful but we always desire and covet your prayers for our needs and yes…even wants He’s that good of a God!
1) Air Conditioner: Thank you Lord for providing for an air conditioner for us!! When we put out a prayer request for an A/C a few weeks ago, we were blessed with the news that “someone” wanted to buy us one. God is so good. We were able to get one that is very energy efficient. It’s also a heater for our cold winters (now we don’t have to use the expensive heating oil).
2) Teaching at the Filipino Fellowship: Thank you for praying for Frank’s time teaching at the Filipino fellowship of Athens a couple of Sundays ago. It was for their weekend retreat and was a blessed time!! They filled us full of great Filipino food afterward and even gave us doggy bags to take home The little room they meet in was packed full of over 50 people. What loving saints they are! Check out the pics below…
Thanks for taking the time to stand in the gap with us thru prayer! God is Good!
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Frank & Suzie