Dear Prayer Partners,
We want to begin this update by bringing you all up to speed on Suzie’s spinal surgery… so here we go…
SUZIE’S SURGERY: Well to say that this back surgery’s turnout was good… is an understatement…it was blessed in every way. The continued encouragements and prayers throughout this time from friends and family around the world have been overwhelming and such a blessing to us. So thank you!
We flew from Athens to Thessaloniki a day before Suzie checked into the hospital. When we arrived we spent our first night in a hotel and had a nice dinner just preparing ourselves for what was ahead. When she was admitted the next day the hospital staff were so amazing. She did all her pre-op stuff very quickly, like blood work, etc and then was escorted to her room by a staff member. Our insurance covered a private room so I (Frank) was allowed to stay with Suzie the entire 5 night stay with a bed right next to hers. This saved us a lot on hotel costs during that time. At one point during the night, Suzie was introduced to the head nurse of recovery who would be taking care of her personally. She just happened to be a Christian, originally from California and knew our church. She expressed how blessed she was to be able to take care of my wife and that she would be in good hands. That night we talked and prayed a lot and reflected on how much God had already done for us and the surgery hadn’t even begun yet.
Her surgery was the next morning at 7am and was supposed to take about 5 hours. However, due to some minor complications it took an additional hour. The complications involved how much hardware the surgeon would implant due to the position of two of her vertebrae, but he was able to improvise a suitable solution. In the early afternoon they tracked me down to tell me she was resting peacefully in recovery and all had gone well. I was very excited to see her wheeled back into her room and to once again sit at her bedside while she slept off her anesthesia.
After that, time flew. She was encouraged to begin walking the next day “with help” down the hospital hallway so that her back would begin to adjust to the new “hardware” in her spine and the new plastic disc she received. She did great on her walks with the physical therapist’s help and just like my wife…she was eager to do more but was told no. 5 days later she was released from the hospital but had bed rest for the most part with some small walks in the hotel where we stayed until she got her stitches and staples out the following week. During that week we had sweet times with our friends and fellow missionaries Mark & Celeste Yocom from CC Pristina as they stayed in the same hotel that we were in. Needless to say we enjoyed blessed fellowship. Before we knew it, we were on our way home to Athens.
Suzie’s recovery has been going very well back at home. For the next few weeks she is only allowed to sit for a total of 2 hours each day. She is also allowed to walk around a track with a brace for therapy for another couple weeks but taking it slow…. which again if you know my wife…that’s a tough one for her. Beyond that she has a few guidelines to follow, like no bending, twisting, or lifting for at least 3 months. She also has to lie down and rest for the next few weeks when she is not “walking or sitting” which is needed to get fully functional again. Throughout this time we got to see God’s hand in every detail both small and large, from rides to the airport from friends in Athens and friends that live in Thessaloniki to our hotel giving us the last night free because they understood our situation for Suzie’s need to be laying down and resting before her flight that night. To top it all off all of our travel expenses were covered through our insurance company’s mercy fund that they chose to donate to us! It was amazing how the Lord had everything planned before we could even make plans. We serve and have a protective and loving God!!
ONTO MINISTRY STUFF…
BOOK PROJECT: We’re currently working on a budget for the hardcopy publishing of Why Grace Changes Everything. As you know we had it translated earlier this year and it is currently only available in electronic form. God has recently begun to provide specifically for the completion of this project so we are taking steps forward to figure out what it will cost to complete it. A Greek pastor here in Athens is currently helping us out on this as he is connected to a publisher and Christian bookstore. He has read the book and sees its value for Greece. This is exciting news for us but we are patiently praying through each new step.
CCBC ITALY: We are all set to receive the group coming from the CC Bible College in Italy from October 13-17. They will be on a Footsteps of Paul tour and we are blessed to help them navigate this crazy city and be part of a day trip to Ancient Corinth. We are looking forward to their fellowship, catching up with the staff and Craig the pastor of CC Montebelluna. We are very encouraged by their hearts to encourage us!
U.K. MINISTRY TRIP: We are still praying about a four to five week ministry trip to south western England to serve with the Claycamps this fall in order to come along side them and help with some specific things they have lined up. We’ll keep you posted as the Lord leads and unfolds his plan for this. Our purpose for this trip is to fulfill a need and participate in a Calvary Chapel church planting work in progress.
TEACHING, TRAINING, SERVING: As Suzie recovers we are slowly beginning to step back into our normal routine, at least I am. I will continue co-teaching in our men’s discipleship group, doing occasional teachings at the Pakistani fellowship on Sunday evenings, and meeting one on one with Peter (Pakistani pastor) doing IBS and pastoral training with him. Please keep him in your prayers, as his situation in Greece is an exceptionally difficult one. He is here as a refugee though he lives as a missionary reaching his own people with the gospel. His greatest need right now is for asylum papers, at least to the point that he is on record as being in process. Under his current situation he is at risk of being imprisoned by the Greek government for three years if he is unable to get the papers that he needs. This is the simple explanation as the whole story would be much too complicated to share here. So with that please pray for God to protect him as He has been doing in some pretty miraculous ways, to continue to use him and to provide for all of his needs.
HOW WE’VE BEEN PRAYING: Although we have intentionally stepped back from directly planting a church over the last year, and have been serving in a more behind the scenes training and advisory role, we have maintained our vision to see Calvary Chapels (or Calvary style ministries) established in Greece and elsewhere in Europe. We remain true, transparent and consistent to the vision that brought us to the mission field nearly ten years ago. We believe that God has called us more to a type of work than to a specific country itself. There is an obvious need on this continent and especially in this country for healthy Bible teaching churches, so we are continuing to seek the Lord for open doors to begin a new work if the Lord would have us to do so. As Suzie has been recovering from surgery we have been taking time to reflect and to listen to different teachings. Recently we watched a message from pastor David Guzik in which he said, “You can’t turn people to the Lord without the hand of the Lord being at work”. This was in reference to Acts 11:21. This thought reminded us that all the effort in the world will not win one soul to Christ or establish a new church if the hand of the Lord is not in it. It is not by our own wisdom, cleverness or strength that we will make a difference for the kingdom. There are too many people who try to build God’s kingdom through fleshly means but do so to no avail. With that we want to be as sure as reasonably possible that we are following the Lord’s leading and not the dictates of our own imaginations or hearts. For us to move forward with this specific ministry here in Greece there are some important things that we will need to see happen in the next six months or so. The main thing is Suzie’s German citizenship certification. This can come at any time from tomorrow to a year and a half from now. Without it, we will not have the ability to stay legally in the country beyond the middle of next year. In light of that we do not feel right about attempting to start something new knowing that we may not be able to see it through due to our immigration status. God is able to provide this so we trust that He will, if He desires us to move forward in this vision. This is something we have been praying about for a while now and ask that you pray with us to see what God will do! We will be blessed by whatever God decides regarding our future here!
TIME TO PRAY…
- SUZIE’S SURGERY RECOVERY: Please continue to pray for a full recovery from the surgery, that the implants will take, remain infection free, and that she will be up to full strength and mobility in the next month.
- CCBC ITALY GROUP: Pray for an edifying time with the Bible college group, for smooth traveling for them and that God would deepen their understanding of His word through this experience.
- U.K. MINISTRY TRIP: God’s will and timing, provision of ever sort, and an effectual time serving with the Claycamps.
- ALL MINISTRY: God’s anointing on the times I am teaching the men’s discipleship and at the Pakistani fellowship on Sundays, one on one training meetings with “pastor Peter” that he would continue to grow in his ability to teach the word to shepherd, the hard copy publishing of Why Grace Changes Everything in modern Greek to be completed.
- PRAYING OVER VISION: That God would establish His purpose for us here, open the door to plant a church if it is His will by providing what we need to do so.
- SUZIE’S GERMAN CITIZENSHIP: Pray for God to bring this about speedily as we have about a six-month deadline in order to live legally in Greece and the EU.
Support Info: 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.Thank you for standing in the gap with us!
Frank & Suzie