We can’t believe this year is almost over but we are very thankful for what God has done and look forward to all He will do in 2017! Please enjoy the read as we share on some things that happened this past month and a half, as well as some events that are around the corner.
As you all know we took a little scouting trip to Germany to do some surveying of the area where we will be living and serving. This trip turned out to be much more encouraging and fruitful than we originally anticipated and we already see God working and moving things into place. We stayed with our friends, Frank & Melanie Moll, who are one of the main families who we will be starting the church with. Part of our time was spent getting to know each other more and praying together over all that lay ahead of us.
Thanksgiving… Over our first weekend we took an overnight trip to St. Gallen Switzerland (2 hours away) in order to celebrate Thanksgiving with the Molls and our friends Ted & Carol Allen. Ted, whom we’ve known for several years, is pastor of CC St. Gallen, where Frank Moll previously served as an assistant pastor. We also had the pleasure of attending church there that Sunday and had the opportunity to share about the new church in Kandern. We are thankful to have CC St. Gallen’s encouragement in this new work.
Getting busy… After Thanksgiving we began to do the legwork we went to Kandern to do. This consisted of various meetings, investigating potential ministry opportunities that would complement our church planting work that have been presented to us, location scouting for our church meetings (we have 2 potential spots in mind), and apartment hunting.
Meeting with Pastors… First off the Franks met with different pastors from around the Kandern area to share about what God has put into our hearts and to begin building bridges. One meeting was with the pastors of the Calvary Chapel in the city of Freiburg only about 45 minutes away.
Black Forest Academy… We also explored some ways to be directly involved with the Black Forest Academy (the missionary boarding school in Kandern). The director of the school has expressed his excitement about the new church and has asked us to consider a few things. We are unable to get into details about this right now but will fill you in as things develop.
Housing Search… Our apartment hunt was the least fruitful endeavor that we set out on and we will be waiting until we return from furlough (more on that below) to really begin our search. Generally speaking there is a housing shortage in Kandern due to the high population of internationals living there. Typically things open up more closer to summer when an annual turn over of residents takes place. Until we are able to secure a long-term rental we will be staying in temporary housing.
Traveling via Italy… As a bonus to this trip we flew in and out of Italy. This allowed us a few extra days of fellowship with our friends, Jim & Margie Stewart (CC Padova), Rachel Woodcock (CC Treviso) & Brian & Maria Cambra (CC Treviso). An added extra bonus was the plethora of amazing pizza, coffee and gelato that we were able to consume while there! Gotta love Italy!
CHURCH CHRISTMAS PARTY…
Because Christmas fell on Sunday this year it was a wonderful opportunity to introduce the church to their first celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus. We started with a tasty meal together, a little gift give away (the adults received a tea mug filled with little goodies and the kids each received a small toy and a new children’s Farsi Bible, donated by a ministry in England), followed by our normal service with Christmas carols in Farsi and English and then topped the night off with some Persian dancing (they love to dance as it is illegal and forbidden in Iran). Thankful for the day turning out so well and blessed by the turnout. Normally we have about 60 in our core group but our numbers nearly doubled, even though most didn’t know we had this special event planned. Also thankful to the YWAM group that came and helped that is also attending our church while they are serving in Athens.
AROUND THE CORNER…
DENTAL CLINIC –JANUARY 18-24: A couple years back we suggested the idea of a dental clinic for refugees to Inga-Lill Guzik, the wife of David Guzik the pastor of CC Santa Barbara. Inga-Lill is a trained dental hygienist and has gone on short-term medical missions for several years now. Inga-Lill met our friend Sahar at this year’s mission’s conference in Austria and began talking about the idea of bringing a dental team out to work through Sahar’s medical ministry to care for the people in our church and other refugees in our area. We are blessed that this is finally happening and that the timing works out for us to help plan and participate in it before we move to Germany.
LADIES TEA: In addition to the clinic we are planning a special women’s tea for the ladies in our church. We have asked Inga-Lill and the two other pastor’s wives, Peggy Ball (CC Kaiserslautern, Germany) & Kathy Adams (CC Stone Mountain) that are on the 6 women dental team, to share a brief teaching on what it is to be godly women. We look forward to all God will do during this time!!
PASTORS CONFERENCE –JANUARY 23-27: Frank & Arno are once again attending the CC European Pastors & Leaders Conference in Austria. This year Sean Coleman (CC Church plant Crete, Greece) will be attending as well and joining up with Frank & Arno here in Athens. Frank is looking forward to spending time with others pastors to pray over the upcoming changes, fellowship and soaking in the Word!
THE MOVE: Our move to Germany is being finalized and we are planning to depart from Greece on or about February 1. Most likely we will be flying. We are currently working out the shipping details for the items that we are taking with us. Once we arrive in Kandern we only plan to stay a few days before heading out on furlough. Our main goal for this initial stage of our move is to get Crossy our cat settled in to the place he will be staying for a time (yes, we’re taking him), drop off a few things and make sure that the stuff we are shipping is stored until we return and begin our apartment hunt.
FURLOUGH –FEBRUARY 8-APRIL 4: After our move to Germany we will be going on furlough in the States. There are a couple reasons why we have chosen to do so at this time. First is to buy some time before looking for an apartment in Kandern in light of the housing shortage that will persist until closer to summer. Second is, once we begin the church we do not want to take any long breaks for a couple of years at least. Lastly, taking a break and going on furlough before starting a new work will allow us to share about this last year of ministry and the church among the Iranians while it is still fresh in everyone’s minds as well as share about the new vision and season of ministry in Germany that we are heading into. Beyond these, there are also some practical things that we will need to get done in addition to simply spending time with our families, friends, and supporting churches. Lord willing we will be able to take a little R & R after a busy season of ministry.
GETTING STARTED: Following our furlough we will begin to settle in to our new life in Germany, and start laying the foundation for the church. Our initial plan is to start simply by meeting informally in mid-April and to have more of a formal start at some point in the summer. We are still praying through the details but that’s the basic idea. There are two young men who are praying about coming to serve with us full time, Jared Acuna and Jesse Corey. Jared, who was one of Frank’s students from the recent CCBC teaching site in Athens, is trying to come in May for a couple of weeks to scout things out, and Jesse, our recent intern, is possibly moving in early summer.
THANK YOU: We want to thank you all for standing with us in prayer and support through all of this. We have been on the field almost 13 years and have been through many highs and lows. God has stretched us and continues to weed things out of our life that don’t belong and continues to show us His faithfulness and that His timing is truly perfect. This year has brought both great blessings and surprises, like planting a church we didn’t expect and predominantly working with a people group we didn’t expect to work with. Also we’ve had the privilege to work and serve with some wonderful people that will always be apart of our lives no matter where we go. All that to say, that we are very grateful for the way the Lord has used us and look forward to His next assignment.
P.S…. UPCOMING NEEDS: Normally we don’t talk about this much but it’s on our hearts to do so. With this huge transition and our furlough to the States, there are many practical and financial needs that have arisen. If you are interested in helping to cover any of these needs then please contact us privately via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
TIME TO PRAISE…
- Thankful to the Lord for His provision for our flight to the States for our furlough!
- Thankful for our Church Christmas party that went really well and how God is blessing our church in many ways.
- Praise the Lord for answering our prayers and finding people to rent our flat and as abonus, buying all of our furniture. Funny thing is that they’re a Christian German couple that moved to Athens to serve the Lord in one of the refugee ministries. God is good!
- Lastly, so grateful how the Lord blessed our trip to Germany and has made His way clear in so many ways!
TIME TO PRAY…
- DENTAL CLINIC –January 18-24: For Inga-Lill Guzik and the team of 5 ladies, pray for their health, smooth travels. Also for our team to be organized on this end as we get things set up and work in continued unity. Lastly for a smooth running clinic and for the refugees who will be served to see the love of Christ in this practical effort.
- LADIES TEA –January 22: We’ll be hosting a ladies tea for our church and we have asked Inga-Lill, along with two other pastors wives, Peggy Ball (CC Kaiserslautern, Germany & Kathy Adams (CC Stone Mountain) to share the word with us. Please pray for them as God speaks through them and for Sahar and Suzie as they finish the planning for this.
- PASTORS’ CONFERENCE: Please pray for Frank, Arno and the rest of the men as they get refreshed and fellowship with like minded pastors.
- MOVE TO GERMANY: We will move on or close to February 1. Please pray for everything involved in this process, from moving boxes, a few items of furniture that we chose to keep to all the details and planning of it.
- FURLOUGH February 8-April 4: For God to bless this time with refreshment to our bodies and souls, opportunities to share about the church and work in Greece and the future work in Kandern with different churches and an overall blessed time with our family & close friends.
- CAR FOR FURLOUGH: Please pray for God to provide an economical and reliable loaner car for our entire furlough. This is always a very big need and God always seems to provide. If you are interested in helping with this, please contact us via email, as soon as possible: email@example.com
- HOUSING IN GERMANY: Pray for the right affordable apartment, with the right landlords, in the right area.
- STARTING THE CHURCH UP: For God to assemble the core group we will be starting with, for the vision to be established, for a location, favor with the community, wisdom and grace in the early times of this new work.
- POTENTIAL WORKERS: For Jared Acuna as he is making plans for a scouting trip in May and that God would provide and guide; For Jesse Corey as he seeks a final word from the Lord on his decision to move.
- MAKING NEEDS KNOWN: Moving expenses (shipping, setting up new home, etc), Increased cost of living in Germany, Need for a car (leasing through ministry we will be working with), ministry needs (church meeting place and expenses). Much of this would be covered with an increase in our monthly income either through support, opportunity to work part time or both. We know God is faithful to always provide, and many of you have asked what our needs are, so we wanted to take the opportunity to be transparent and share these things with you and let God lead you. Finances are always an ongoing need and an ongoing prayer, so please pray. If you are interested in helping to cover any of these needs then please contact us privately via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 again for standing in the gap with us!
Much Love, Frank & Suzie