A family from a partnering church recently came to visit our team and it was so fun to observe our 9 team children interacting with their new friends from the US. They sat on the living room floor and played various games — a real mix of ages from 4 to 16.
Our kids face constant relational transitions. This is a classic two sided coin. On one hand it is really difficult to deal with a rotating circle of friends, but it also teaches them to quickly engage with whomever is currently in the room. Pray for our kids as they walk through this journey!
There is nothing quite like a fresh baked loaf of Nazuki on a cold winter morning! Nazuki is the local sweet bread with cinnamon and raisins! The people of Green Mountains know how to make delicious bread– it truly is a staple of life here. Sadly, most of them do not know the One who is the Bread of Life. Please pray with us that their eyes would be opened to His truth and they would come to know the One who created them and loves them dearly. He is the Bread of Life who will satisfy them forevermore!
Our city is full of graffiti, a powerful art form used to express one’s thoughts and feelings. This mural displays the harsh reality facing children who live on the streets here. As the weather gets warmer we encounter more and more kids begging, and it breaks our hearts knowing they truly do not have a choice. In fact, they will not even receive the money they collect. Please pray that our community can find ways to meet the needs of these children and show them His love.
English classes at our center are thriving! Students have been inviting their friends because they have never experienced such a “comfortable and kind place to learn English” (Mariam). We are grateful for all the new students we are meeting. Our heart’s desire is not only to teach them English, but also to intentionally share why our center is different. We long to share our stories of redemption so that they too may find the hope and freedom we have! Please pray with us and for us, that we would have opportunities to speak truth and to be bold in doing so and that these students lives will be wholly transformed!
In the heart of the old city, a 4th century fortress is perched on a hill above the sulfur baths. I have countless times climbed up on the walls of this fortress and looked out over the city. I imagine Jesus standing above Jerusalem crying out for the people there as I pray for God to pour His blessings and His revelation upon the people. This fortress is one of many stops on the city tour that I often lead for teams that come and visit our country. In November, we hosted groups that partner with us from Iowa and Vermont. It was incredible to share our love for the people, have them experience our life, and take them on tours of the country. We trust that the trip was a blessing to them as it was for us.
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10
Pray that many people will experience the love and peace of God despite uncertain times.
I was reminded recently about the fact that our God, who created the heavens and earth, cares about each and every detail!! As we took time to notice the fine details in the beauty of nature around us, we could see how much He loves us and how much He cares. As our team enters into a time of transition, we often find ourselves unsure of all the details, and it can start to make us feel uneasy. But I am learning to trust once again in the fact that He cares about each of the details we may be concerned about, and He will take care of them all!
6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. “Luke 12: 6-7
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?
One of the most beautiful cities in our country still has remains of a great wall that once surrounded the city to protect the people from their enemies. It is said that “the fortress walls once ran 4.5 – 5 kilometers long with 28 watch towers and 8 gates. Each tower of the fortress was named after the nearest village, so that the residents of this village knew where to hide in case of danger and which tower they were to defend.” (Cora V.)
How did they know when their enemy was approaching? There were men who stood watch. Just as in Old Testament times, as it says in Isaiah 62:6, “O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night, continually. Take no rest, all you who pray to the LORD.”
Praise God for those who have been willing to commit to being watchmen on the walls for us and the people of Green Mountains. Thank you for praying for protection from the enemy. If you haven’t joined us yet, please do–we need you!