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!
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!
According to the local calendar, spring begins March 1. The city becomes covered in flowers in preparation for Mother’s day and International Women’s day. You can even buy flowers from the trunk of a car, just about 50 cents for one bunch—quite a deal!
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11: 28
When was the last time you just stopped and sat in His presence long enough to unload your burdens? It’s in those silent moments, when we sit still in His presence, that He is able to not only relieve us of our burdens, but also restore us and renew our strength to carry on to do what He has called us to do. May you find rest in Him even now!
This blog post is a shout out to our friend, Max. He is a dear man that came to visit us here. After reading our blog, he set out to make one of the traditional breads from our country and found ways to duplicate it in America!
When he was here, he saw an antique food scale that he commented on. Because we love Max, we knew we had to find him one. So, we started the chain of questions and conversations among our friends. Sure enough, there was a market that had them.
It was a new metro stop for us, but it is so fun to explore new areas. So, we started off. We walked through an entire market, holding up pictures and trying to say the word for dough scale. Mixed answers came back, but some folks were hopeful that we would be able to find this treasure in a separate, older market area.
Stall by stall we went, asking people if they knew where we could find one. Finally, we were on the right track! We could tell we were in an old tool area! We saw one scale, then another, and then another–what a fun treasure hunt! It’s always so satisfying to find the item that needs to be found. This is the scale we decided to get for Max:
March is a very special month for women in Green Mountains. Both Mother’s Day and International Women’s Day are widely celebrated with the giving of flowers and gifts. However, in daily life, women are often treated with an attitude of disdain and disrespect.
Please join us in praying for the women of this place to know their value and identity in Christ, and as a result, be powerful agents of change. We know that, “charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30