We had an exceptional experience several months ago. For our anniversary, we went to a restaurant that has tried to make the cuisine from this region elevated and more gourmet. One of the first things that came out was this plate of cheese. The people here love their cheese! Each type of cheese is unique to the region it is from and has a unique twist. On the plate, there are two discs like a mozzarella–one swirled with mint and one swirled with walnuts and paprika. Then, there is a goat cheese and a cow’s milk cheese fermented in wine. It was really a very special experience. The green sponges on the plate? Oh, those aren’t sponges! That was the parsley that had been made into a cake! We tried them and we were surprised with the sweet flavor that balanced out the strong bite of the cheese!
Although this church is older than anything in America, it is still in use –often holding weddings and tours (many people from other countries visit here) at the same time. There is a clear contrast between this newer icon and the older, faint murals on the walls behind it. Someone had taken the time to light the candle in front of her picture.
This is very typical of church walls in this city. Many times, the icons are of Mary, like this one. Others may be of Saint Andrew, Saint Matthew, or Saint Peter. They are all said to hold different blessings, especially for someone that has their namesake. This is part of the lie that has been given to the people here–that these Saints are needed to intervene, on our behalf, to God. We only need one Mediator! Would you pray that people would stop and think about who they are praying to?
Over the past twelve months, the team guys have hosted a few men’s game nights for our local friends and students. Ping pong is always a huge hit, and there are some pretty intense matches during these get-togethers. What’s even better is the relationship building and conversations that take place in this relaxed and fun environment. Please pray for those listed on the tournament bracket (this one includes some recent visitors from the States too) that they will be changed forever, and for direction as He guides our paths to perfectly intersect with people who desire to know Christ.
“Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the skies themselves send down showers? No, it is you, Lord our God. Therefore our hope is in you, for you are the one who does all this.” Jeremiah 14:22
Please pray that Christ will be restored to His rightful place within the national religion and in the hearts of this people.
We live in a country in which Christianity became the state religion 1700 years ago in 319AD by a young woman named Nino! She is buried in a small church on the grounds of an ancient monastery in the Eastern part of the country. We recently visited and stood for some time in the small church. It is overwhelming to see firsthand how a message of relationship, hope, life and light has morphed into what could be described as a heavy, duty-filled, dark religion.
As we stood there, sun beams came through the window into the dark church. The vision of light piercing the darkness is so powerful, and we’re praying that this historically Christian nation would experience true revival!