In July, our team hosted an English/Soccer camp for kids at a local park. It was such a fun experience for us to be able to include 7 of our team children in the experience! The temperatures were soaring during the day. At the end of one day, many of the attendees splashed in a park fountain after the program ended. We rejoiced to see our kids interacting with local kids in this setting, and we were thankful for the chances we had to connect with the parents/families of these kids.
In the heart of the old city, there is a new bridge that has earned the name “Bridge of Love.” What started spontaneously with just a few locks has become a place to declare love and commitment publicly with an inscribed lock. May this image be a reminder to us as we build bridges with our local friends, students, neighbors, and others. May our relationships be locked together with the genuine love of Christ.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:22b “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” As we work overseas, we our trying to find ways to contextualize the gospel so that the message is understandable by the person hearing it. This strategy is not unique to believers–successful restaurants and stores do the same thing to make sure their products are loved by the locals.
In the past couple of years, Dunkin Donuts has opened numerous stores throughout our city. While talking to one of our students, Giorgi, about a traditional local bean pie he explained that his favorite place to get it is at Dunkin Donuts. Who knew DD makes bean pie? Giorgi is right, it is delicious.
Grapes are so popular here that most families who have the space grow their own. Care for these plants includes an interesting process. This picture captures the “trifecta” of grapevine life. The mature vine growing; the dead, pruned branches; and the ashes from the branches burned for warmth or cooking, and then used to feed the vine for continued growth. Father, allow our personal pruning to bring nourishment and growth for a fruitful harvest. Amen.
One of my favorite sights when we drive (especially outside of the city) is to see rows of trees like this with perfectly painted white trunks. This is the local version of safety reflectors on the side of the road.
Local believers sharing the Gospel with their friends and family is not just a dream–it’s a reality. We pray that more and more leaders will be raised up, equipped, and empowered to boldly proclaim and live out the truth of saving grace through Jesus.
This month, please join us in praying for: new leaders to be raised up, courage for local believers as they share the good news, a kingdom culture that holds to the truths of God’s word despite what local culture says or believes.