Most of you who have been following and supporting us since we arrived in Europe back in November of 2004 know that we’ve been focused primarily on church planting ministry. But over the last year or so we’ve taken time to closely evaluate not only what we are doing, but also more importantly what God is doing at this time. With that we’ve felt led to take a step back from planting a church from the ground up. Because we have not seen God open a door for this type of church plant work or are even sure about our own giftedness to do so, we are questioning whether God wants to begin the work of Calvary Chapel in Greece in this way. With that we are praying about other avenues to pursue through which Calvary Chapels can be established in Greece. It is still our hearts to see this happen, but we’re not sure what God’s plan is regarding this so we are waiting and continuing to serve in other ways.
This decision has come over time, through much prayer, counsel and hearing from the Lord through His word. Most recently we heard a message online from a pastor we listen to often, based on Acts 20. In it, Paul said goodbye to the Ephesian elders and subsequently let go of the church he had poured himself into for three years. The ideas that this pastor stressed was our need to RELEASE and LET GO of things into God’s hands, and trust Him with their outcome. That is what we feel we are doing with church planting in Greece.
I know what my gifts and calling are. By the grace of God I’ve been called to pastoral ministry, to shepherd the people of God, to teach His word and train others to do so as well. Currently I am not fulfilling my calling in the context of a Calvary Chapel. Instead I am working within a refugee ministry teaching the word to various believers and seekers as well as making efforts to train pastors and leaders from other churches, for example through the IBS training we are doing next month. In short we are just trying to be an influence in the various spheres that God has so faithfully placed us in, both in His wisdom and sovereignty. At the very least we want to share the importance of verse-by-verse teaching and train others to do so. God knows and will guide! Please continue to pray with us as we seek the Lord and ask Him to give us the tools and open doors to accomplish His will!
Away in August: As you know we took some time to get away last month to visit friends in England, Italy and attend the mission’s conference in Austria. This was the longest trip we’ve taken outside of our stateside furloughs and it proved to be more needful than we had initially understood. The pressure of living in an confined over crowded metropolitan area, in addition to the daily spiritual warfare of serving the Lord abroad can really sneak up on you over time. It wasn’t until we were sitting in our friends’ apartment in a small town near Treviso, Italy and listening to the silence did we realize how exhausted we’d become. Needless to say that every step of the experience encouraged us and at the end left us feeling refreshed and renewed. If you’d like to see more pics of our trip we have included a link to our photo gallery at the end of this newsletter. Now don’t skip and go straight to the pics. We have an app that will tell us if you’ve done so 🙂 Just kidding!
Men’s Discipleship: August began with our last few summer discipleship meetings with the refugee men we’ve been ministering to. The men were really showing all the signs of growth in their spiritual fruit, and understanding of biblical truth as they continued steadfastly toward the Lord. As I mentioned previously, we were meeting twice per week for about four hours at a time throughout June and July. It has been such a joy to see such genuine hunger for God and His word coming from these new believers. We plan to resume our meetings this Thursday and are greatly looking forward to this next stretch of time.
Women’s Bible Study: Suzie will resume her ladies Bible study next Tuesday. This is a joint effort of different women from different churches under the banner of an organization called Community Bible Study International. The material is wonderful and sound and takes the ladies through books of the Bible expositionally. Once a week they get together to hear a short message and then to discuss what they’ve learned through their own studies in small groups. In total there are about twenty women. This year they will be studying through the Gospel of Matthew. Suzie and four other ladies who are part of leadership will be taking turns teaching as well as leading small group discussions. Please pray for a fruitful year!
Suzie’s Foot: Suzie got another boo boo… As we mentioned in our last prayer request Suzie hurt her foot at the mission’s conference in Austria by walking downhill. She recently had it x-rayed and examined by our doctor in Athens. Our main concern was that the hardware in her foot from previous surgeries had come loose but that turned out to not be the case, Praise God! Instead the doctor diagnosed her with a ruptured ligament and told her to stay off it from seven to ten days. She has four days left. If the pain persists after that then it is most likely a stress fracture, which can’t be seen on an x-ray. If that’s the case then she will need to stay off it for another four weeks or so. Her podiatrist in the States gave her the same diagnosis after we sent him copies of the x-rays. Thanks for praying, please continue to do so.
Inductive Bible Study Training Seminar: The IBS training is creeping up on us ever so quickly. We are currently working out final details on this end and registering the attendees, as well as coordinating with Pastor Dan Finfrock of Intensive Care Ministries who will be arriving at the end of September. Dan has asked me to teach through a short epistle to give an example of expository teaching so I am planning on covering Titus. I will be sharing this teaching slot with our friends Mike Dente from CC Paris and Patrick Higgins from City Light Church Bratislava if they are able to come. Please pray for God to provide for them! We also have a couple of praise reports to share. First, we have recently gotten approval to host this event in cooperation with the Greek Evangelical Alliance. This is huge because Calvary Chapel isn’t well known here (yet) 🙂 and the GEA is a very reputable organization in Greece and have given us their endorsement. Praise God! Second, donations are beginning to come in and we are very thankful for the Calvary Chapel pastors in the U.S. who are getting behind this event and encouraging us in it.
We are offering this event free of charge and are seeking to collect between $1600 and $1800 to cover all the costs (translators, materials, facility, food, etc.) Again, if you would like to participate in this financially either as individuals or churches you may do so through one of our supporting churches, Newport Coast Lighthouse. They have set up a special fund for this event that you can give directly to. Just make your checks payable to Newport Coast Lighthouse and attach a sticky note on the check directing it to the IBS training in Greece (Please do not write on memo line). You can then mail them off to:
Newport Coast Lighthouse
P.O. Box 7039
Newport Beach, CA 92658
Newly Discovered Citizenship: As you all know we have been seeking for a way to stay legally in Greece (or Europe in general) for the long-term for some time now. The various visa options are limited and have been looking quite dismal, as we do not have what is required for them. One of the main ones that people use here is the independently wealthy visa but the amount of monthly income and funds in the bank far exceed anything we could ever have as missionaries. There are ways to go around this on paper but it is our personal conviction to not put up a façade for the government here to make it appear to them that we do qualify when we actually don’t. With that as we have been seeking the Lord and investigating we discovered that Suzie is a natural born German citizen by descent through her maternal grandfather. The amazing thing about this is that prior to January 1,1975 one was only able to possess citizenship through their father. Suzie was born in November 1975. Due to this change in the law Suzie has automatic citizenship. The providence of God amazes us as in that He brought Suzie into this world at the right moment in time.
Since this discovery we have been corresponding with a lady who specializes in German citizenship from the German Consulate in Los Angeles. She has been walking us through the process and helping us know what to gather in order to verify Suzie’s citizenship. The one document that this all hinges on and will make the process pretty smooth is Suzie’s grandfather’s birth certificate that we need to get from Germany. Thankfully the German’s keep wonderful records, so she assured us that this should not be a problem and we should be able to order it online. So, what does this German citizenship mean for us? It means that in the long run our need for visas for any E.U. state will be eliminated. The only thing we will need to do after this is register in Greece and apply for a spousal visa for Frank. Spousal visas are free and guaranteed under E.U. law! Needless to say, yes, we are very excited and believe God started and led us to this new development and we are sure He will see it through!
Stateside Trip: In light of the new development of Suzie’s German citizenship we will need to make a trip back to the U.S. in order to go through the process at the German consulate in L.A. as well as to collect all of the U.S. vital records we will need. We are considering and praying about taking this trip from January through the end of February of 2014. While there, we will also apply for Frank’s German spousal visa for Greece. We will keep you posted as this develops but please pray for the Lord to provide for the air tickets we will need for this trip. The tickets will cost us from $1700 to $2100 for the both of us.
If you’d like to see our most recent prayer needs please visit our “Partner thru Prayer” page or click here.
If you are a church or an individual and would like to learn about partnering with us financially with either a one time gift or regular monthly support you can visit our “Becoming A Sender” page or click here.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Here’s the link to our photo gallery where we’ve posted all of the pics from our most recent trip to the mission’s conference, England and Italy.
Thank you for standing in the gap with us!
Frank & Suzie