After an evening class, a couple of us had taken the metro home. As we exited the train to transfer, we quickly noticed that the power was out in the station. With just that one change in the environment, everything seemed different. As we waited for our train to arrive, what normally would have been a few minutes of happily chatting turned into heightened awareness and a focus on, “What’s going on?”
Life is often the same way. Dark times can take us by surprise and upend everything leaving us feeling anxious and grasping for answers. So, what do we do? In a recent team prayer time, we re-read a familiar verse, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 Hard times will come, and they will be difficult. However, this verse reminds us that we are NOT alone–Peace is literally with us–even when all we can see in front of us is darkness. Don’t give up, lift your eyes, and be held!
Penmanship was always a struggle for me in school, and now I’m watching my own kids learn to write not one but TWO alphabets. Our kids study primarily in English at an international school, but twice a week they have the privilege of local language class. We are amazed to see how God gives them capacity to learn this new alphabet! Please pray for all 9 of our team kids as they continue to learn, grow and thrive in this culture that looks so different from our own.
Over the past few years we have gotten to know one of our English students and her co-worker as they have studied with us. They both work for the Ministry of Education, and she also runs her own NGO, which exists to help teenagers who are disadvantaged or at risk. Throughout the summer she holds special camps at their facility to train these teenagers in life and leadership skills. Even though she is not a believer, they have recently been attending one of our communities of faith. It is our desire to bless these by partnering with them to help make their camp better. In June, a team will come from America to help build an obstacle course and sports equipment for the camp. Please pray that this partnership will build on the relational foundation already established, that these local friends will continue to read scripture with us, and that God will use all of this to draw them to Himself.
During a recent hike just 5 minutes outside the capital city, we sat on the hillside watching the sheep run and graze in the field. It is not an uncommon sight to see in the mountains, on the roads, or even sometimes in the capital. This past week at one of our communities of faith (a community of faith is a group that studies God’s word together) we studied Luke 15 and the parable of the lost sheep. It is a great reminder of the heart of God and His desire for the lost to be found. May there be great rejoicing in heaven over the changed lives here in Green Mountains and also where God has you.
When we tell people where we live, we usually get a mixed bag of responses–sometimes confusion (and concern) about our location. Sometimes surprise that this place isn’t in history books! Sometimes curiosity about which continent we belong to, etc. You might be wondering the same things. If you had the chance to hear each of us talk about this place, you would hear the same sentiment–we love it here!
This city is full of layers of culture and historic places that have seen waves and waves of intruders and enemies. We see art and we see strong people. We experience rich hospitality and have heard some sincere hearts. We have tasted the best food ever and enjoy the most delicious, seasonal fruits and veggies at our markets. We have strolled in parks, hiked in mountains, swam in the sea, and explored caves. This is a wonderful place to live. Today, we give thanks for this place, friendships, and all that our Father is doing here!!
Here is a bench with the name of our city, written in the beautiful language we are learning:
As you’re waking up, we’re getting down to business…business English that is….Tonight is the third night of our evening English intensive with a focus on English in the workplace. Please pray for this time with students–that it will be full of learning and reflecting God’s great love for each of them!
In October of 2016, the door was officially closed at one of the local universities that we had taught at for the three years prior. Besides losing some financial support for our English center, this made an obstacle for the relationships that had been developed there. We praise God, that the students that were active in our classes last year, continued to pursue a relationship with us by coming to our outreach events.
In March of this year, we decided to offer a free English class to these students. We were amazed by their response as they come each Tuesday morning at 9:30am when most other students are still asleep. Our relationships with these students have grown deeper, and we have been able to invite some of them to join us in a community of faith. Please pray for these two new communities of faith and that some of these students would be able to join.
With all the vibrant spring colors, we were not expecting to see BROWN featured so prominently when we were walking in the city last week. It is amazing to see the increase in global brands; the pace of development and modernization here is stunning, and it is not uncommon to see familiar logos like this one. Despite this economic development, many locals still struggle with tremendous poverty and lack of opportunity.
On our way out to the airport, we pass a large mural showing the world and flags from different countries on both sides. Even after living here for several years, we had not seen it until a few months ago (most of our flights take off and land during the middle of the night).
On a day when the harvest seemed out of reach, this was a great reminder. He came for the people of Green Mountains, and that all of the nations will bow down to Him. He sees the big picture! Will you pray today for the places that are hard to reach? Will you pray that people’s hearts would soften?
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,” Matthew 28:19
Geographically, GM sits at a crossroads of continents, nations, and people groups. People from many difficult countries are finding refuge in this place that has miraculously remained very open and tolerant. We are excited to see how God is using and will continue to use this scattering of peoples as a means of giving access to true freedom through the Gospel.
—Pray for the Gospel to reach many nations through those whom He has brought to GM.
—Praise God for the relatively open borders that have allowed people to come from countries that are often difficult for believers to enter.
—Pray for all of the organizations who are working to spread the truth of the Gospel in this land—that God would multiply their efforts.