We are thankful how the Lord has been so continuously faithful in our lives and ministry. Please enjoy this update as we have enjoyed remembering how God has been moving within the first couple of months of this year.
FELLOWSHIP & MEETING: Arno & I began our time in Bratislava, Slovakia visiting my good friend Patrick and his family and the church there. It was such a blessing to share the word with the saints that Sunday morning as well as spend time in fellowship. On Monday morning we hit the road and headed to the conference in Austria. We both enjoyed a blessed time in God’s word, got refreshed, connected with fellow pastors and brothers, and began to plan some outreaches with a couple churches that will be sending teams to Athens this year.
CONNECTING: Before one of the sessions I was able to share briefly on how God is moving in Athens within our ministry and specifically among the refugees. I explained how the Lord has continued to use our ministry to connect both seeking and believing refugees to healthy churches in other parts of Europe once they depart Greece. Our ministry has made many relationships within the Christian community in Athens and has been approached several times about connecting refugees they know with healthy churches in other parts of Europe. So while sharing this with the pastors at the conference I simply asked if they would be open to refugees if I sent them their way. Considering that many of the CC’s have been working with refugees in recent months, making these connections seemed like a natural fit. What I shared was well received and I am praising God for much openness among our Calvary family.
WHILE AWAY: While Arno and I were away I was so blessed to know my wife had a great time with many different sisters in the Lord and fun times of fellowship. They even set aside a night to celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary while we were apart (Blessed to have a patient and understanding wife!) Also in our absence my friend Philip who is a pastor here in Athens, taught for Arno and I at the Friday study and Sahar and Suzie and a handful of solid helpers from the study helped in every way they could. We are so blessed to see God use our wives and be the amazing helpmates that they are!!
SEEKERS STUDY: Last month in our prayer section we had shared briefly on a new seekers Bible study we had begun with another couple, Arno & Sahar. Since then much has transpired. When we began we really didn’t know what to expect as we were simply trying to fill a need and teach hungry people the Word of God and guide others that were interested in Jesus.
We started out doing a series on “who Jesus is” and are now teaching a survey through the Gospel of John. Our focus here is to cover the highlights of the book to help the seekers discover the truth about Christ and to build a basic foundation for the believers that attend. We are amazed how God is causing these people to grow. This is evidenced by their increasing hunger for God’s word so much so they have asked for more studies. Several of them regularly invite others to attend with them, which has caused their numbers to grow to about 40 to 50. The group consists of mainly Iranians with a few other nationalities. We currently use different evangelical churches for meetings until God provides us a more permanent place. Over all it is our hearts to provide a church home for those who will end up calling Athens their home. We are not sure what the Lord will do in the future or how this will look but are waiting on Him to show us the next steps. We do not know how long this door will be open to us but we are riding this spiritual wave for as long as God keeps us on it.
REFUGEE FUN DAY: Two Wednesday’s ago a short-term team from an international missions ministry made up of two churches from the States hosted a “fun day” for our Bible study group. The day consisted of games, food, and doctor visits for anyone that needed care or follow-ups. We ended the day with a Q & A time. We were able to answer any Biblical questions they could throw our way and it proved to be fruitful. Overall it was a blessed day and we were grateful for the team’s help. They provided the plan, games, food, and one of the doctors, which freed us, Arno and Sahar to spend more personal and quality time with the group. To boot, half the team turned out to be from CC Ft. Lauderdale FL. How awesome is that? Needless to say, we made new friends and enjoyed some unexpected CC family as a bonus.
COMMITTING TRUTH TO FAITHFUL MEN…
PASTORAL TRAINING: As you know on Fridays I meet and disciple Shazeb, a Pakistani pastor that has a few fellowships in different parts of Athens. A few weeks ago Shazeb brought another pastor to train and to join our meetings. For security reasons I’ll call him Paul. Like Shazeb this pastor had recently fled Pakistan for his own safety as many people were threatening his life because of his ministry there. This man is very humble and open to whatever help he can get that will better equip him for ministry. I am truly humbled to have the opportunity to meet with these men.
MORE TEACHING TIME: I was asked to teach on Sundays at this Pakistani church held at an actual church. I am praying about committing to maybe one Sunday a month and sometimes teaching at their Saturday Bible study. Not sure what I will do yet but I am still praying through how God wants me to be involved to help these men that Shazeb is leading.
RAISING UP SERVANTS: There are a few men from our Bible study that are showing an interest in doing more in ministry and desiring to go deeper in the Word. I am currently praying about which day to meet with two of them.
WHY TEAMS? In recent months we have been more active and open to outreach teams coming and serving alongside us than in recent years and there are a few reasons why. First off there has been a growing interest of Calvary Chapels in Europe to send teams to us. Second it is our heart to see people get excited about the work God is doing and support a church getting started here in Greece, specifically Athens. Next is to be an example as a church movement that is based in part on, simply teaching the Bible simply. Lastly, is to see hearts stirred for missions and maybe if God were leading specific individuals, He would stir them to serve alongside us long term. Our vision for teams is three-fold. They first would come to assist in whatever ministries we are involved in, like the medical ministry, CMC, that Arno & Sahar lead. Teams would assist and simply minister through our ministry, second would be to pray with us which in itself is radically encouraging, and last but not least is to help in anyway that helps in our church pant effort in whatever stage it’s in at that time. Currently we are involved in the medical ministry to a degree, praying about our beginning stages of the cooking club, discipling men/pastors in the word on a weekly basis and co-leading a Bible study of about 40.
FUTURE OUTREACH TEAMS: As of now we are praying and talking out plans with a few churches and one Bible College for outreaches in the Spring and Fall, all from different countries in Europe. Our hope is to also see our stateside supporting churches and any future supporting churches send teams to encourage us in the work God has us doing and to work alongside us. Needless to say while we have been in the beginning stages of planning these outreach teams, we have been blessed by each pastor’s heart in desiring to assist us in any way they can and help our ministry here be fruitful! If you are a church and desire to send a team please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will be glad to pray about it.
GOOD NEWS COVERAGE…
CC MAGAZINE: About 4 months ago we were approached by CC Magazine to do an article on our ministry and how we are ministering to refugees. We accepted and are blessed to be in a magazine that is used as an uplifting tool that shares about what God is doing through Calvary Chapels and missionaries all over the world. While being interviewed and collecting pictures for them we got to know a few that run this magazine even more and are very blessed by their hearts to share the good news!
The reason we are even sharing about this is because they just recently posted in some social media sites notifying readers that we are in the next issue, so we figured you might as well find out from us personally. We are in the Spring 2016 edition issue 67 that has been shipped out to all the churches. We pray first that you grab a copy and read and that this article simply makes people more aware of the work that is happening in our ministry and sparks hearts to pray for Greece and us!
Thank you for reading! We also want to thank you for your continued support and love that you send our way because we can’t do it without you! We covet your prayers too so please take a minute to read through our prayer needs below. Much love to you all!!- F & S
SEEKERS/ NEW BELIVERS BIBLE STUDY: Please pray for the Bible study in general that is currently meeting on Friday, pray for us, Arno & Sahar as we pray through how God wants to use it and what the future holds for this study. For a more permanent location and lastly for the people attending that they would be filled up with God’s Spirit as they listen to the Word being taught and that many more will come to know Jesus!
RECENT REFUGEE CAMP ISSUE: There is one camp specifically that has recently banned many Christian groups from helping because they were accused of proselytizing, which they weren’t. Without getting into details this is a frontal attack on Christians. They have now gone so far as to give the refugees a “curfew” of 7pm telling them they can only be late for emergencies and nothing else. Some of the camp staff had told some of the people that come to our study that they should stick to their Islamic beliefs and not try to switch. Talk about demonic! If they are not back by the unreasonable curfew time they are locked out for the night forcing them to sleep in the street. We are trying to help them to fight back in a productive way. Please pray for God to intervene and give us and those that desire to come to the study, wisdom.
MINISTRY MENTORING: That God would bless Frank has he ministers and teaches two Pakistani pastors on Fridays, teaches at a Pakistani church on Sundays once a month and will potentially start training two to three other men who are showing an interest.
FUTURE OUTREACH TEAMS: For God to give us discernment and blessing on our times of preparing for outreach teams this year. We have 3 potential teams and we are currently praying about dates. In Addition we also have a couple different pastors coming out to scout and pray with us for future ministry here in 2017 so needless to say there is much to pray about in the coming months and ask that you pray along with us.
PRAYER WALKS & BEING OUT N’ ABOUT: We ask that you pray for our times of prayer, specifically as we walk around our neighborhood and city/suburb called Glyfada. We have begun frequenting a local café and getting to know a specific man there. Please pray for open doors to share Christ with anyone God leads us to and that the spiritual barriers will be broken down in our community!
CO-LABORERS: Please continue to pray for this. We need faithful and mature people to come and serve with us, both long and short term. Having people to pray with and serve alongside that are likeminded is priceless!
HEALTH: We have a lot of things coming up and visitors left and right and cannot afford to be sick. It seems like every time we have an outreach or guests we get sick. Please pray for our overall health.
PROVISION: For God to bless and provide for every need He knows we have both for personal and ministry.
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 again for taking the time to read and for standing in the gap with us!!
Frank & Suzie