Here is collection of stories that caused my heart to rejoice over the past three months.
A wonderful Syrian mother who has attended our church for over a year invited Jesus Christ in her life this week. She said that from the first time she and her family came to church she felt something special.
One family has showed up at church over the last several months faithfully whether there is Arabic translation or not. We have prayed for their little three year old son who has kidney failure. He is a sweet boy who loves running around church. Without insurance, without a job, not knowing the language, there is very little chance on even getting on the list for the kidney donors. Would it not be amazing if God would make a transplant unnecessary?
Izmir, Turkey American Pastor Andrew has been in prison since December 2016 and faces 35 years imprisonment on false charges. Most of his congregation have fled out of fear. One Syrian family is on a Greek island in a overcrowded refugee camp. Would not the Lord want those who choose to believe in Christ to have safety and mercy?
April’s kids festivals were a positive boost to hundreds of immigrant children. When Egyptians workers visited their homes in an apartment building where Syrians, Kurds, and Iraqi families live, a fight broke out and because of safety the visits ended abruptly that evening. Ideally people from the troubled Middle East can live at peace and without tension far from the war zones.
On my first day in Egypt, I was given a tour of the museum of modern day martyrs of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt. Endless stories of women divinely ready to meet the Lord on December Sunday 2016. And the account of the new believer martyr who was beheaded on the shores of Libya when he saw the faith of the others in 2015.
Easter Sunday celebration in Thessaloniki of the Passover lamb was shared with around 90 people mostly from the Middle East. The BBQ fire was not enough for the lamb, chicken and burgers, yet the feast enjoyed by the nations that our Savior sacrificed his life for.
When an Egyptian monk was asked why he joined the monastery, his response was to know God and to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
An Egyptian Orthodox Priest went to a retreat center in Rwanda to relax and rest. There the mission bug bit him and since then his church has taking teams on mission trips all over the world. In May a team came to Thessaloniki to share their faith in Jesus and love the Arabic refugees.
On a regular Sunday evening in an old Orthodox church in Cairo crowds fill every space in the cathedral waiting to experience an hour with an elderly Man of God, Father Makari. Sitting at a table he answered written questions, spoke from his heart, and spontaneously burst out in songs of praise. The atmosphere was charged with the presence of the Lord.
Serving the Lord in these days in Thessaloniki is a joy and privilege. Of course, we get weary, but God gives us signs of life that keep us encouraged. Thanks for your prayers and financial support. May the Lord’s blessing fill all the earth in both hemispheres from East to West!!!