Every year some form of change happens to our team. Families go to and from the states on varying rotations. New teammates are added here or there. The occasional intern joins us for a short season. Transition is constant and very real. Please pray for us as a team, that the transitions ahead would be smooth and that we would remain unified in the goal set before us here.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” — John 15:5
This is a verse I often think of when I see grapes on the vine — and there are a lot of grapes growing in this country! The visual is such a good reminder to me. I want to live a life connected to the Vine, bearing the fruit of the Kingdom here.
Recently some guests from the states came to help us gather film footage of this beautiful country. Filming took us and the team out of the city for a couple of days. We spent the night at guesthouse recommended by our local friend and tour guide for the trip. It was a literal farm-to-table experience, as everything from corn to tomatoes to fish to honey was produced right there. Everything was fresh and delicious, and it was such a restful place to stay.
This is our friend Salome. She has attended classes, events, and intensives at our center and this last spring she even helped teach a class on tourism. Since she is a tour guide here, she was a valuable asset to the class. On a few occasions we hired her to help us tour the capital city and a few out of town places. Most recently she aided one of our short term teams as they put together video footage for our team to use. Salome is very devout in her religious beliefs and prays in the local Orthodox churches often. Please pray that she will not be blinded by tradition or the rules of Orthodoxy, but instead that she will encounter the living God.
Besides gorgeous scenery, spectacular mountain views, rich culture, and delicious food, this country also boasts some cave city history. Dating back to the 13th century, this was a city of at least 6000 rooms. It was a city of protection agains invading armies because of its location and maze of secret tunnels. It was mostly destroyed by an earthquake but its size is still impressive and one has to wonder what living there was like way back in the day…
The churches here are tall, stately buildings with an imposing presence that cannot be missed. So often, though, the gospel is misrepresented within their walls. Please pray that there would be a revival in the church here, that the religious leaders would move from tradition and personal gain to leading the people closer to the One and Only God, and that the cross atop these impressive buildings would mean more relationship and less religion.
Even though many of us Team Green members have lived in the capital city for many years it is always fun to discover new and hidden gems. Above is a picture of a home that was built before this country came under the rule of another country. It was able to escape the government initiative of the destruction of all aristocrat homes. The house is still owned by its original family and often they will allow people into their home to see this historic landmark.
This symbol has different meanings to those who look upon it. For some it’s an archaic symbol that is no longer relevant. Some look at it as a fashion statement and some see it as something that was forced upon them from childhood. When I look at it, I see freedom. I understand the sacrifice that was made on the cross so that I could be forgiven. Crosses like this are plentiful across this country and we invite you to join us in praying that those who look upon them will understand the personal freedom it brings. Pray that this symbol will take on a new beauty.
Today was the third day of Kids Camp at the center. The theme of the day was numbers so each of the four classes (cooking, games, science, and crafts) incorporated numbers into their activities. The short term team that is here is doing a remarkable job connecting and teaching the classes, and children seem to be loving it!
Please continue to pray for:
The children: good connections and that they will experience God’s love for them this week
The short term team: strength and stamina to keep up with the high energy environment while still on jet lag
Team Green members: quick problem solving skills when things don’t go quite as planned, and openings to begin building on relationships with the kids and the kids’ parents