Hello Everyone, Suzie and I made it back to Athens safely on June 4. Thank you all for keeping us in your prayers. Since we last wrote, we had a couple more road trips before heading back to Europe, so let us catch you up a bit on what’s been happening and what’s to come.
CATCHING YOU UP…
From May onward until our return to Europe we went on two more road trips. On them we visited and reunited with more friends and had more ministry opportunities present themselves to us. First we went to the San Diego and Murrieta areas. We are so thankful to have spent time with our long time friends the Cass family who were visiting California (sadly only the wife Karin & eldest daughter Emily were able to make it). They happen to be staying with old friends, Albert & Sheri Salvato, that I (Frank) have not seen since my College & Career days at CCCM. From there we spent a day and half with our friends and former missionaries Shawn & Annie Stone of Maranatha Chapel and enjoyed a wonderful mid-week service there. Next stop was the CC Conference Center at Murrieta Hot Springs where we were blessed with a few down days that we spent enjoying the facilities and time with Mark & Renata Nigro, also former missionaries and friends from Europe.
Our last trip was the BIG road trip. It began in Santa Barbara with a couple of days visiting David & Inga-lill Guzik and Nick & Sue Long, who happen to live next to each other. So blessed to have these two couples in our lives that have been so encouraging to Suzie and I in many ways. From there we headed to Bakersfield for Mother’s Day and our last visit with Suzie’s family. I had previously been asked to share about our ministry on that Sunday morning by the pastor of an Assemblies Of God in Bakersfield that we have been close to over the years. What a unique opportunity it was to share with this sweet body of believers and also get blessed with a surprise love offering at the end. God always surprises us in His provision for us, what a blessing! From there we headed to Manteca to spend time with my sister Sophia and her family. We then continued on to Oregon for the last visit with yet another sister and her husband. While there Suzie and I both were asked to share at Roseburg Alliance Church where my sister Inez works and attends. I shared at the men’s prayer breakfast and Suzie at the women’s brunch. We came to find out the pastor and church have been praying for us for over a year now, again so amazed by our God and His faithfulness to show us He is with us! Our last stop before heading back to Orange county for our final week in the States was the San Francisco Bay area where we visited with the Klobuchar family, good friends who have been supportive of us over the last several years.
Our final week in Orange & LA county was spent getting Suzie’s new temporary German passport (praise God!) until the permanent one arrives at the German consulate in Athens as well as spending adequate time with our three supporting churches, CC South Bay, CC Costa Mesa & CC Newport Coast Lighthouse. We were able to have lunch with Jeff & Connie Gill, the new pastor of CC South Bay and catch up a bit, share our hearts with them about things that have happened and what’s around the corner. We also had the same opportunities with Brian Brodersen, pastor of CCCM and Jeff Gipe of Newport Coast Lighthouse. Needless to say, each meeting was met with encouragement and an overwhelming support for us. We walked away from each one grateful for their personal love for us.
On our last Sunday in the States I was asked to teach and cover for pastor Jose at CC Hope Central Watts in L.A. It was such a blessing to meet this body of believers and see a church that is only a couple years old doing so well and impacting their community in significant ways. We ended our furlough the day before we flew out with two goodbye BBQ’s. Our friends Dennis & Xu Mascardo (Dennis is also the mission’s pastor at CC South Bay) threw us a party at their home and invited many of our dear friends of old and new. We not only loved catching up but getting prayed for by them at the end of the BBQ. We ended our night at the Gipe home where we were reunited with our old co-laborers from Poland the Kula family who are now serving in Cambodia. The Kula’s had just arrived to begin their furlough as we were leaving… what a God moment! It was a blast to see them all and enjoy a rich night of fellowship with them, the Gipes and the Pero family.
When we left the U.S. on May 26th that was not the end of our journey. Before returning to Greece we made one final stop in England where we spent a week because of flight times and pricing. This stop was broken up between the Kottman family of CC Leatherhead and a weekend with the Calvary Chapels in Exeter and Wotter/Plymouth where we also had some private time with Bob & Jeanne Claycamp and the Matthias family from CC Exeter. We left grateful for the week with many things to pray about.
WHATS HAPPENING NOW…
Currently as far as ministry goes for this summer there are a few things we are working on and praying about: A possible new seeker’s class with my friend Kenn this summer, distributing the new CD’s (How Can A Man Be Born Again; including music) to different local churches in Greece, as well as placing them in the local Christian book store. I have already begun to distribute them among some of the local Greek pastors. We also hope to get the Greek version of Why Grace Changes Everything published (in the works) and finally to continue on with the Friday night Persian Bible study with our friend’s Arno & Sahar. In the middle of all of this I know some of you are wondering what and how God may be leading us as far as whether or not we will stay in Greece. Well, we’d like to say He has made it clear but He has not so with that we are currently praying over a couple of options. Our plan is to continue praying over the summer while we continue to serve in Athens. There is a time line we have tentatively set in regard to decision making based on practicalities, but as with anything we are trusting in God’s timing and will. Lord willing we will know soon and relay to you what God shows us. Above all we know God is in control and what He has called us to, but where He has called us to do it is another question. We are wholly leaning upon the truth that His ways are not our ways and trust in His faithfulness to keep His promise, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)
THINGS TO COME…
CONFERENCE: In August we will be traveling to Austria via Italy for the annual CC Western European Pastors & Leaders Conference in Millstatt. This time around we will be bringing Arno & Sahar Lankaar, the couple who leads the Persian Bible Study on Friday nights. Arno attended the winter pastors conference with me in Austria back in January and was so blessed by it that when I invited him to join us for the summer conference with his family he was very enthusiastic to come. We pray for our time together to be richly encouraging, and for the Lord to refresh us all.
OUTREACH: Earlier this year we introduced the leaders of CC Kasierslautern, Germany to the refugee ministries we are connected to with the intent of planning future outreach. As a result they will be sending out two teams in the Fall. One team will focus on a medical clinic and the other on service projects. The details are still being worked out but we look forward to seeing Calvary Chapels like this become more involved in the ministry in Athens. It’s been an unexpected blessing to see the Lord use us to connect different Calvary Chapels to the work in Athens and we pray that these connections will blossom into long lasting relationships and fruit! It is always our heart to keep you continually informed and to be as transparent as we can with regard to how we believe the Lord is leading us.
So with that, we’d like to end this update by reiterating again how grateful we are to each of you for your support while in the States and while on the field. Our desire is that our supporters are kept in the loop and feel apart of the work as if they were serving here themselves. On a side note we’d like to thank those of you who opened your homes up to us while in the States, to the sweet family and dear friends who gave us a reliable car to drive the whole time we were in the States and for the countless people who went out of their way to encourage us in many ways both physically and spiritually. Thank you church family, we can’t do any of this without you by our side!
FYI: Below is our things to pray for, please take 5 mins to read and pray and then enjoy the slidshow of pics at the end!
GERMAN PASSPORT: Praying for Suzie’s permanent passport with her married name to arrive soon. We would prefer using it to register for residency in the EU.
HEALTH: Suzie is having some nerve issues that are related to her surgery. We need to make a trip to Thessaloniki to see her surgeon again for CT and MRI in early July. Pray for the doctor to see the issues and make the best call. This could mean another surgery but we hope not!
DIRECTION: Please continue to pray for the Holy Spirit’s direction as we seek Him regarding ministry and location. We plan to remain in Athens for the time being.
NEW SEEKERS CLASS: God to guide Kenn and I as we plan for this new class and that many would come to faith through it!
FRIDAY NIGHT FARSI BIBLE STUDY: God’s continued blessing on this group, wisdom for Arno and Sahar as they lead it, open hearts to hear the word as Arno teaches through Galatians. We’re blessed to be able to encourage and support them in their efforts!
“WHY GRACE CHANGES EVERYTHING” IN GREEK: This project has been idle for the last couple of months due to lack of funding. The text is translated and ready to be published but we need to raise the funds. The total cost will be $2500. Please pray for the Lord to provide. If you’d like to help out with this please contact us. We can’t stress enough how relevant this book is to the Greek people. There is a possible donor but we are unsure yet.
CD OF “HOW CAN A MAN BE BORN AGAIN” MESSAGE IN GREEK: The CD is in our possession and is currently being distributed among local Greek pastors. Pray for God to use this tool to win souls for Christ!
OPEN DOORS TO MINISTER: Pray for the Lord to open doors of ministry on a day-to-day basis and more.
FINANCIAL PROVISION: Here are some specific needs that we currently have… E.R. Bill for Suzie’s blue hand episode ( we are still working with the hospital to have it reduced); Book Publishing Cost; for our overall Monthly Support to increase to meet our needs. We are forever grateful for God’s faithfulness to ALWAYS provide for us! 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 by following the link.
Thank you for standing in the gap with us! Agape, Frank & Suzie