Thank you to everyone for your prayers! We have finished our first month here and it has been a blessing.
The street ministry has been going well. We have been splitting out time between that and letter boxing. The square is quite hot this time of year, so by quiet time, we are sweating a great deal! But we can put up with a little heat and sweat to be able to tell others how to avoid an eternity in flames, right?
It has been difficult without having a translator or knowing the language. I have had a few people that wanted to talk about the tracts but had to continue because they did not speak English. There have been a few that I have been able to witness too, though. One of them was a young Orthodox man who was trying to reason with me for a while. He kept telling me that I was wrong and there was no need for me to be here because God Himself had established the Greek Orthodox church and it is the only one. The sad thing was that for all his religious zeal, he still freely admits that he does not know what will happen to him when he dies. I kept bringing it back to that and he thought I was most prideful to state that I knew with absolute certainty that I was going to Heaven. I showed him in the Bible how we can know that and tried to convince him of his need for a Savior. He started saying he did not speak English enough to talk about that – though he spoke perfect English up this point. Praise the Lord that the Holy Spirit can do His work regardless. Pray for this man – Panayotis.
Another day down at the square, I ran into Avra who has not been at church for a while. We were able to talk for about an hour about things that are going on in her life. She wants to come back but there are some things that she is dealing with – please pray that these would be resolved. The same day, I was stopped by Terry, another man who had come for a while but has been away. I was able to talk to him for a while as well. It was good to see familiar faces from church and be able to encourage them in the Lord.
The letter boxing has been going well. We are rapidly going through the remaining supply of Gospels of John. We have moved through Kalamaria near the coast and are now approaching the area near church. Elia came out with me one day and is now hooked. He keeps wanting to know when we are going to go out again. He was very happy about being able to give out the Gospel and it was nice to have him with me when some people tried speaking with me as he speaks some Greek. It is so amazing when I walk into a building and see 60 mailboxes. To think that is just one building in a huge city of lost souls can be overwhelming but we are doing what we can do one person at a time.
One day on our way home from Kalamaria, someone pulled out of a street without looking and plowed right into our car. We got to experience the Greek way of handling such a thing – it took an hour for the police to come! The first thing that was said was that I am not supposed to be driving this car in Greece since I am an American, it is from Romania, and I am in Greece. Fortunately, his superior did not think it was that big of a deal and dropped it. This was an opportunity to tell the family who hit us the Gospel, especially since the Lord helped me not get upset (which they seemed to be surprised at). Fortunately, the car was still drivable – especially since it took a few weeks to just get their insurance company to finally tell us we could go it fixed.
On my way to the shop last week, I was one block away when another lady hit me – in the same spot! I have not had an accident in 15 years of driving – until I got to Greece! Fortunately, both of them were not my fault and no one was hurt. Tomorrow, Lord willing, the car will finally get fixed.
The Lord has used situations like this to slow me down. In America, I am always used to being in a hurry and having to do something. Here, I get to use things like this as a way to give the Gospel to the people that have literally been put in my way.
Church has been going well. We are right around 20 people (or more) every Sunday and about 10 on Wednesday. Our translator, Dimitris, had his family come to church a couple of weeks ago and we were happy to get to know them. Last Sunday, the mother of a lady from our church in NY came to church with her sisters and niece and we got to go out for a time of fellowship after church. Today, we had a lady come from an hour away. She had talked to Angelo a number of months back but this was her first time here. Please pray for Vasilka – she is not saved and does want to come back. She enjoyed the service today and wants to make the trip back at some point. Also, we had a new man, Tasos, that came to church. He got saved a number of years ago in a Brethren church in Germany and has been back in Thessaloniki for a little while. He is looking for a church to make his own and will be coming back on Wednesday. His wife and son are not saved, so please pray for them.
We saw our first soul saved here on Wednesday. Telemachos had brought his son Alexis again to church. He asked if I would talk to him because he was not sure he was saved. I spoke to him through the translator for quite a while. He did not really think he had ever sinned so we dealt with that. After hearing the Gospel, he said he did want to get saved and went ahead and prayed on his own. He has many physical ailments but is now a new creature, spiritually. Please pray for him and his situations.
That night after church, we had a long time of talking with the people about issues of the Bible. I had just started to teach a series on Wednesdays on the Promises of God and had taught the first one about Eternal Security. A new man came that night that wanted to ask a lot of questions. He says he is a religious historian of sorts and likes to see his spiritual beliefs “evolve”. I spoke with him for a long time about his spiritual concerns. Please pray that his heart would be open for the Lord and that he would return.
Thank you all for your prayers for this ministry! We have started to have prayer before church on Wednesdays and more of the people are coming to that. It is a blessing to hear them pray for the people who have given and come here over the last year to spread the Gospel. They have not forgotten the sacrifices that you all have made! Thank you for that. The church is growing and you all have had a major part in that. What a joy to serve such our worth Savior together!
In His Service,
Charlie and family
Our youngest son Daniel “singing” at church
Our after church discussion one night
Elia talking with Charlie before church on Wednesday
Dimitris (our translator) and I after a Sunday service