And August it is! The summer has come and is nearing its end, although the high oven like temps will continue to be with us for another couple of months. With that heated intro let’s move on with our update to fill you in on the latest things that God has been doing in and through our ministry. We hope that you enjoy and are blessed by what you read!
ON THE HOME FRONT…
FAMILY VISIT: Last month Suzie’s sister Sandy and our brother in law Clint were out from California for a visit. It was great to spend two weeks with them showing them around, resting on an island for a week, of course playing games and getting spoiled by them in various ways. Thankful for our time together and for family visits like this.
MISSION’S CONFERENCE: From August 13-20 we will be in Austria for our annual Calvary Chapel mission’s conference. Once again our co-laborers Arno & Sahar and their kids will be attending with us for this week of spiritual refreshment. This year we will be flying together to Bratislava, Slovakia the day before the conference begins and spending the night with our good friends Patrick and Ivetka Higgins. The next morning before driving to the conference we will be joining them for service at their church, City Light (CC Bratislava) where Patrick is the pastor. Frank was asked to teach that Sunday and will also share about the ministry in Athens. We are all looking forward to this time away!
HEALTH: Over the last several months Suzie has had some health issues arise. We’re holding off on giving all the details for the time being but will at least explain that there are several potential issues including a thyroid problem. Her internist ordered a series of blood tests to confirm his suspected diagnosis so we should know more soon. While the doctor was performing an ultrasound on her thyroid he noticed a cyst on it that was large enough to get a biopsy. This is an additional issue unrelated to the thyroid problem that she is being tested for. On a positive note, the doc did give us some comforting news, he is 95% sure that the cyst is not cancerous but still wants to order a biopsy because of the size (1.5cm). We are grateful that God guided this doctor to do such a thorough exam and catch the cyst early. As cancer does run in Suzie’s family it is better safe than sorry. We will appreciate your prayers for this!
MOMENTS OF MINISTRY…
CHURCH LIFE: God has been working in the church in some amazing ways. Not only did He birth it over night (so to speak) but He is also causing noticeable growth. There are things happening that you wouldn’t typically see from a church so young. We have our good and bad situations like any church but can see that God is moving. As of now we have about 60 people coming regularly not including the different people that come to visit each Sunday. Each week we normally have people visit that are either passing through town or are workers from other ministries whom our people know and invite to come. All this makes for a very diverse group each week, although it is a very Iranian church.
We are blessed to report that many of the people in the church are making real progress in their asylum process. Some can now work and have been able to get jobs around town. There is also a ministry based in England that is helping many of our families get into apartments together and away from the camps and government housing. As we have stated before that it is unsafe for Christian refugees to be in the refugee camps here in Athens. Many of them have been persecuted and beaten up, so it is really necessary to get them out of the camps and into safe places. The new housing situations and jobs have brought a greater sense of stability to many of the families in our church as one could expect. It has been amazing to see the changes in their countenance and how encouraged they’ve become over the last several weeks or so. Likewise, certain individuals have started serving even more during church services as well as volunteering at a local refugee ministry. One brother has begun taking on the worship by preparing the songs we sing each Sunday, some are beginning to automatically help with set up and clean up after service, and many of them invite new people each week. As far as the fellowship, well that is not even a problem in our church because people don’t want to leave. They will fellowship and talk with you and each other for hours if you let them… it’s a blessing! We are very grateful for this loving body of believers that God has allowed us to minister to!
CHURCH HISTORY SEMINAR: As we had explained briefly in our past update the pastor of CC Sierra in California, Sam Tallmon and his wife Bethany, came to serve with our ministry for two weeks. They expressed interest in seeing the work as well as doing whatever they could to bless the church body. We held a two-day seminar where Sam walked them through the history of the church. It was a great blessing to those who came as we had a great turn out. We believe that God used these meetings to strengthen the people in our church and give them a better understanding of how the church unfolded and how God worked throughout the centuries. In addition to the seminar and to introducing them to many of the people that we minister to, we simply enjoyed some nice times of fellowship with this wonderful couple and two of their four children whom they brought. We are thankful for churches like this in the States that get involved in this way.
SHORT-TERM WORKER: We recently welcomed a short-term worker Jenessa, from Mountain Springs Calvary Chapel in Calgary, Canada. She arrived more than a week ago and will be here until August 22. She has been helping primarily with the children’s ministry on Sunday but has been a huge blessing to us in many other ways as well. Please pray for her as God uses her in all aspects of our ministry here.
BAPTISMS: As people have been getting saved they are quickly seeing their need to take the next step by publicly identifying with Christ through baptism. We rejoice as we just had another one this past Monday and baptized six more people. Being able to baptize over 50 people since the beginning of this year has left us amazed and truly humbled. We are extremely grateful to God for allowing us to play a role in this!
We would like to close by saying how grateful we are for getting to serve Jesus in this way. This season of ministry has been a huge highlight in our almost 13 years on the mission field. If I would have gotten a glimpse of the future and would have seen God start a church with a bunch of Iranians, in Greece, with a Mexican and a Dutch guy as the pastors of that church, I would have never believed it! God is truly amazing in the way He uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise and is truly amazing in the way He works all things together for the good. To see the “so called” 10/40 window come to you and to witness many former Muslims put their faith in Jesus, in a Greek speaking country, still blows our minds. Jesus is on the throne and is working things out for His glory and we are thankful He is using us for such a time as this. Thank you all for your continued encouragement. We appreciate your support and the co-laboring in prayer. Keep those prayers coming and speaking of prayer, please check out our current prayer needs below. Your prayers make a difference!
POWER OF PRAYER…
PRAISE: Praising God for how He is answering prayer for our church needs. People are sharing the gospel with their peers, stepping up to serve within the church and inviting new people to come on Sundays. Also praising God for another two baptisms we had this last month of about 12 people in total and for how many have been baptized this year, about 50 people. God is amazing!
MISSIONS CONFERENCE, AUGUST 13-20: It’s that time of year again to connect with friends and fellow missionaries from around Europe. Blessed to have this time to pray, encourage one another, hear each others stories and get fed the Word. Please pray for God to give us and Arno & Sahar traveling mercies as we fly. Also for Frank as he teaches next Sunday at City Light Bratislava (CC) in Slovakia before the conference.
MORNING BIBLE STUDY & FARSI CHURCH: Please keep praying for both of our meetings in the morning and afternoon as we go through the Word of God together. Thankful for how God is growing the body! Pray for Frank & Arno as they pastor and shepherd this church.
WEBSITE: We’re starting work on a website for the church with some basic info on it, teaching, etc. We want those that are in need of a church to find us as well as share resources we put on it with those they minister to. Also we will be asking the believers in the church to come up with a name for the church, as we don’t have one yet. We feel they attend it too so we should all come up with it together. The sole purpose again is so people can identify us and know who we are and where we are located. Please pray for this.
DISCIPLESHIP: Please keep praying for our time with the believers in the church and our personal time with many of them throughout the week. Also pray for some specific men that Frank & Arno will begin to pour into and raise up to eventually teach others.
OUTREACHES: Pray for a couple outreaches being planned for the Fall. One we can share that we have dates for is our medical outreach with CC Kaiserslautern, Germany. Dr. Geoff will be coming again with a small team in October 10-14th. Please pray for the logistics, planning of it and all that surround that.
CC BIBLE COLLEGE TEACHING SITE: Please continue to pray as it’s coming up in one month. We will have 16 students and some staff arriving in September and staying for 2 months, from September 11th-November 6. Please pray for the couple, Tom & Cheryl Reese, that will be directing the college and for us as we help acclimate them. Also for Frank as he will be teaching the first of three block courses being taught here in Greece. His class starts a couple days after the students arrive. He’s teaching 1 and 2 Corinthians.
SHORT-TERM WORKER: Please pray for Jenessa who arrived a little over a week ago and will be here until August 22. She is from Mountain Springs Calvary Chapel in Calgary, Canada and is here to serve alongside us and is primarily helping in the children’s ministry on Sunday.
HEALTH: As we had explained in our update, Suzie is dealing with some health issues concerning her thyroid and needs a biopsy for a cyst the doctor found. Please pray for all the health stuff in general.
PROVISION: For the Lord to provide financially and physically for ministry needs and personal. This is always a need, and whether we give you an itemized list of our needs or say nothing, we hope you simply pray and see how God leads you.
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