After a week of prayer and a week of meetings, on Tuesday we’ll begin our new program at the Athens’ Refugee Center (ARC). The general consensus of the group was clear: we want more of a focus on relational ministry. That is to say, we need more time in small groups, more time for one-on-one evangelism (and discipleship), more time to spend developing relationships. This, of course, comes at a cost: fewer meals served. That was the trade-off, but it is never an easy decision to make when there are so many people in need. The new schedule is this:
Our Tea House ministry will be open on Tuesdays and Saturdays. We will always serve tea and offer refugees a safe and comfortable place to come. We will not, however, serve food unless we have at least 13 staff members (or volunteers) on hand. Essentially, we are telling the refugees not to count on food from us (it may not be every day), but when we can provide a meal, we will. Thursdays and Fridays, then, will provide an opportunity for ministry oriented towards specific groups of people (e.g. families, Arabic speakers, or single men). There will be a rotation of activities, which will include showers, laundry, family nights, clothes distribution, food packs, and movie nights. The new schedule will take some getting used to (for the staff and refugees alike), but please join us in praying that Christ’s name will be honored in this new arrangement. Thanks so much for your prayers and encouragement!
Also, tomorrow we are having some close friends visit us for 10 days. We’re very excited to see some faces from home (although they now live in Maine). Needless to say, we anticipate a fun and encouraging week with Jared and Rachel Cowgur.