Hi Praying Friends –
First off, happy Leap Year day! Our latest newsletter is hot off the presses. Thanks so much for your partnership in God’s work here. He continues to do great things in the lives of refugees. Read our attached newsletter for a few stories. Also, there is important news about our ministry transition plans. Download it HERE – otherwise, there is a text-only version below. Thanks for your prayers, support, and encouragement. We are very rich to have so much love in our lives. Thank you!
Loving the Overlooked – February 2012
Raising the Dead
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved” (Eph. 2:4-5). These are some of my favorite words in scripture. Here in Athens, we’ve seen this resurrecting power firsthand in the lives of refugees.
“J” – an Afghan – has spent his entire life in Iran, where he often watched Christian programming on satellite TV. He loved the message, but couldn’t imagine what this faith might look like in real life – he didn’t have a Bible and had never met a Christian. Late last year, “J” left Iran to seek a future for his family (his wife and young son) in Europe. In Greece, “J” reunited with an old friend, who is now a follower of Jesus. This friend shared his faith with “J” and brought him to our ministry center. After reading through the scriptures and asking questions (some of which had been on his heart since watching Christian TV in Iran!), “J” has put his faith in Christ. “J” is now truly alive – experiencing the freedom and peace of union with Christ!
“C” has faced great challenges in this life. After a car accident several years ago, he was left blind. The doctors in Iran were unable to restore his sight. After hearing about the medical breakthroughs in Europe and North America, “C” decided to leave Iran. I cannot imagine making the journey from Iran to Greece without the benefit of sight, and yet “C” arrived in Greece with great hopes. He quickly realized that Greece is not the Europe of which he heard so many tall tales. There is little medical help for him here. While “C” remains blind, however, the eyes of his heart have been opened! “C” is now truly alive, seeing the very glory of God revealed in the face of Jesus!
While “J” and “C” came to Christ in Athens, others arrive in Greece already having known “the great love with which He loved us.” “S” accepted Christ in Iran, and even spent time in prison because of it. “V” came to Christ in Afghanistan, and was forced to flee the country with his wife and daughter because of it. Although faced with death, “S” and “V” came to experience the life-giving work of Christ on their behalf!
In Christ, these refugee friends (indeed, brothers!) have experienced new life. Once dead in sin, they are now alive together with Christ. Oh how rich the mercy of God! How great His love for us in Christ! How boundless His grace! Join us in praising God for His mercy revealed here. And please pray for these dear brothers.
Kristin and I love Athens and our ministry here. But for everything there is a season… and we feel that our season in Athens is coming to a close.
We arrived in Athens nearly five years ago – with two suitcases each and great expectations. We’ll leave with three kids, many great memories, and a deeper faith in God’s providence and grace!
So, when will this happen? We’re anticipating moving sometime this summer (mid-June?). I’ll continue to be active in the ministry until then, but am stepping out of my team leadership role. And yes, this also means that baby #3 (due mid-May) will be born here in Greece!
What’s next for us? We’re not exactly sure. My heart is to spend more time teaching and preaching (which is my first love). I would also love to be able to keep a foot in the world of missions – since God has continued to grow my passion for His global heart.
We will certainly keep you updated, but deeply appreciate your continued prayers and support. We cannot express our thanks for being a part of our lives and ministry. Thank you!
By God’s Grace –