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Athens Church- July, 2021

July, 2021

In our last ministry update, we told how God’s hand was upon all we did as we followed Him. Then, I wrote these thoughts: “Does the Lord want us to begin a more permanent work among the Arabic speaking refugees in Athens? Do I need to seek an organization for Mohamad to do work in Greece on a full time basis? He currently spends many hours on the phone each week, staying in contact with more than 30 new believers, as well as lots of seekers, while he resides in Finland. What is the best avenue for discipleship while we are absent from Athens? Ok, your mission, should you choose to accept, is to join us in praying for direction in answer to these questions.” Well, I believe that our faithful, praying friends took these concerns to the Lord. Let’s talk about how the Lord responded in answering these prayers. 1. Does the Lord want us to begin a more permanent work among the Arabic speaking refugees in Athens?- The Arab refugees simply began treating our group as a church. They showed up to clean the room and cook and take care of one another just like a church. We appointed two deacons. The Lord showed us clearly…… they are a church. They walk to church on Sunday evenings to a meeting hall owned by Hellenic Ministries with whom we are partnering to develop an Arab ministry in Athens.

2. Do I need to seek an organization for Mohamad to do work in Greece on a full time basis?- I’ve been in much prayer about Mohamad. I sense in my heart that he needs to be a full time missionary. Tax laws in Greece and Finland were creating obstacles, along with an oppressive banking system. When I paid him in cash for the ministry trip expenses, the police would search him upon his return to Finland, and want to know where he got the money. Through the suggestion of Hellenic Ministries, he formed a sole proprietor company. He invoices Grace Community Church for teaching services. The money is wired to his business bank account and all agencies are happy. That only took 3 months to figure out. In the long term, a Finnish mission organization is considering how they can bring him onboard as a missionary in Finland. I’ve been approached by some organizations who are interested in supporting him. I have funds to fully support him through the end of August. I’m believing that God will supply what’s needed. I’m sure y’all have heard this before, but the bottom line is, when Mohamad shares the gospel, refugees begin following Jesus. I can’t explain it, except to say God’s hand is upon him for this task.

3. What is the best avenue for discipleship while we are absent from Athens?- We bought a computer and a Zoom account. We are able to have Bible studies, guest speakers, and individual training. The work continues to go on whether or not we are in Athens or Lesvos.

An amazing story

Mohamad and I have narrowed the focus of the ministry we feel God wants us to center on. Evangelism and discipleship is our task. This "church" is a group of people who are in transition to somewhere else. We have a small window of opportunity before they move on to other parts of the world. We are always asking God to bless many of them with the gift of evangelism. We need more evangelists who can speak Arabic, and can handle the Bible with integrity. Within the context of church meetings, Mohamad conducts specific training for them. Missionaries are reaching out to me, asking if we have someone who can do the work of an evangelist.

Zayed (not his real name), the first evangelist who we felt was ready for assignment, is on Lesvos. He was actually the last remaining refugee in camp who was in our first Lesvos discipleship group. We were praying about where to send him, because we thought most of the Arabs were gone from the new camp, and we were discussing wrapping up the work on Lesvos. We scheduled Mohamad for one last ministry trip to Lesvos, to baptize a young lady who joined the Bible studies via Zoom, and to encourage Zayed. Then the phone in Finland started to ring. Zayed was sharing the gospel, and Arab guys were showing up wanting to know more. A one day visit to Lesvos became a Friday evening and Saturday visit. Two more guys believed and were baptized last Saturday, along with the young woman. After the baptism, we had a lunchtime fellowship meal. In the middle of the meal, Zayed left the table. He was going to meet another Iraqi he had invited to the meal. The young man had serious questions, but by the end of the meal, he said he was finished with Islam and he wanted to follow Jesus. But wait, it gets better…. One of the Syrians who was baptised, said that his sister lived nearby and he should tell her about his baptism, regardless of the danger. When they went to her house, and he told her, she said, “Can I be baptized too? I want to follow Jesus also.” Well, so much for our plans to wrap up the work on Lesvos. The best thing about this new group is one of them speaks good English, and I can now meet with them for weekly individual training. The Lesvos group felt forgotten during the lockdown. The Athens group received the personal visits. Now, the Lesvos group can meet together and I can assist them as they grow to know Jesus. This was another example of how we make plans but the Lord directs our steps. (Proverbs 16:9, Psalm 37:23)


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